Lazarus taxon

Lazarus taxaLazarus speciesLazarus effectrediscovereda chance that they may still be extantLazarusLazarus genusliving fossilreappearrediscovered the species
In paleontology, a Lazarus taxon (plural taxa) is a taxon that disappears for one or more periods from the fossil record, only to appear again later.wikipedia
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extinctspecies extinction
Lazarus taxa are observational artifacts that appear to occur either because of (local) extinction, later resupplied, or as a sampling artifact.
This difficulty leads to phenomena such as Lazarus taxa, where a species presumed extinct abruptly "reappears" (typically in the fossil record) after a period of apparent absence.

Lazarus of Bethany

LazarusSaint LazarusSt. Lazarus
The term refers to the story in the Christian biblical Gospel of John, in which Jesus Christ raised Lazarus from the dead.
The name Lazarus is frequently used in science and popular culture in reference to apparent restoration to life; for example, the scientific term Lazarus taxon denotes organisms that reappear in the fossil record after a period of apparent extinction.

Living fossil

living fossilsLiving dinosaurmolecular fossils
A living fossil is an extant taxon that appears to have changed so little compared with fossil remains, that it is considered identical.
One example of a concept that could be confused with "living fossil" is that of a "Lazarus taxon", but the two are not equivalent; a Lazarus taxon (whether a single species or a group of related species) is one that suddenly reappears, either in the fossil record or in nature, as if the fossil had "come to life again".

Laotian rock rat

LaonastesLaonastes aenigmamusL. aenigmamus
It would thereby represent a Lazarus species.


Other living fossils however are also Lazarus taxa if these have been missing from the fossil record for substantial periods of time, such as applies for coelacanths.
Its discovery 66 million years after it was believed to have become extinct makes the coelacanth the best-known example of a Lazarus taxon, an evolutionary line that seems to have disappeared from the fossil record only to reappear much later.


extantlivingextant species
A living fossil is an extant taxon that appears to have changed so little compared with fossil remains, that it is considered identical.
Conversely, an extinct taxon can be reclassified as extant if there are new discoveries of extant species ("Lazarus species"), or if previously-known extant species are reclassified as members of the taxon.

Elvis taxon

An Elvis taxon is a look-alike that has supplanted an extinct taxon through convergent evolution.
By contrast, a Lazarus taxon is one that really is a descendant of the original taxon, and highlights transitional fossil records, which might be found later.


The single existing fossil in Dominican amber makes the genus a Lazarus taxon.


They also described the Diatomyidae as a Lazarus taxon due to the 11-million-year gap between the most recent diatomyid in the fossil record and the existence of Laonastes today.

Majorcan midwife toad

Mallorcan midwife toadAlytes muletensis
An example of Lazarus taxon, the species was first described from fossil remains in 1977, but living animals were discovered in 1979.

Antirhea tomentosa

The species was first discovered in 1780 and rediscovered in 1975, making it a Lazarus taxon.


dawn redwoodsequoiadawn redwoods
Before its discovery, the taxon was believed to have become extinct during the Miocene; when it was discovered extant, it was heralded as a "living fossil".

Zombie taxon

reworkedzombie taxa
A zombie taxon is a taxon that contains specimens that have been collected from strata younger than the extinction of the taxon.

Extinction event

mass extinctionmass extinctionsextinction events
After mass extinctions, such as the Permian–Triassic extinction event, the Lazarus effect occurred for many taxa.


Wollemi pineWollemia nobilisWollemi
It is thus described as a living fossil or, alternatively, a Lazarus taxon.

Xylotoles costatus

Pitt Island longhorn beetle
Once thought to be extinct, it is now known to survive on South East Island/Rangatira; being therefore an example of a so-called "Lazarus taxon".


* Lazarus taxon

Pedicularis furbishiae

Furbish's lousewortFurbish lousewort
Since it was once thought to be extinct, it is considered a Lazarus taxon.

Calliostoma bullatum

bullatum'' an example of a fossil Lazarus taxon.

Afrothismia pachyantha

The species was first discovered in 1905 and rediscovered in 1995, making it a Lazarus taxon.

Bermuda petrel

cahowPterodroma cahow
The dramatic rediscovery in 1951 of eighteen nesting pairs made this a "Lazarus species", that is, a species found to be alive after having been considered extinct.

Dryococelus australis

Lord Howe Island stick insectDryococelusLord Howe Island Stick Insects

La Gomera giant lizard

Gallotia bravoanaGallotia gomeranaLa Gomera
Spanish biologists led by Juan Carlos Rando rediscovered this species in 1999.

Bavarian pine vole

Microtus bavaricus
* Lazarus taxon

New Guinea big-eared bat

PharotisPharotis imogene
In 2012, researchers rediscovered the species when they captured an adult female, though at first they were unsure which species they had found.