There are millions, if not, billions of species on our planet. Whether they are extinct or still existing, we are not certain as to how many exactly ever lived.
Upon the vastness of Earth’s land mass and within the depths of its oceans, many species are yet to be discovered. As surprising as it may seem, new species are manifesting right now in our environment, even in our very own backyards.
Much to the joy of cryptozoologists, species thought to have been extinct are still being discovered (or rediscovered) almost every year, existing and thriving right under our noses.
Were they simply hiding or hibernating for millions of years? Or are our powers of observation so unkeen as to miss classic cases of survival and evolution unfolding in front of our very own eyes?
The Coelacanth, for example, which had been thought to have gone extinct 65 million years ago, was discovered alive and well off the coast of South Africa in 1938. It became a classic case of a “Lazarus taxon,” in which a species is thought to have been extinct only to be discovered later still surviving.
The Javan elephant is another interesting case. Originally from Java in Indonesia, it was once given as gift to the Sultan of Sulu as a gift from the Sultan of Java. It thrived in Sulu and was hunted to extinction by the 1800s.
However, while the original stock in Java went extinct as a result of colonization, some of the elephant’s descendants were later discovered to have been shipped to Borneo, where they still survive to this day.
This is a unique and unexpected case of species survival that resulted from the gift giving of ancient royalty, in the process preserving an entire species.
In the deep seas surrounding the Philippines, a new species of swell shark was recently found. The shark is about 39 inches long and it swallows seawater when a predator is near. Now that is evolution—a shark with a defense mechanism similar to that of a puffer fish!
These are just a few cases of how species in our world manage to survive, and they are just waiting to be (re)discovered. Could Nessie be finally found nesting in an underwater cave in Loch Ness along with its brood. Is Bigfoot playing hide and seek with us?
The one thing we do know for certain is that species are far more adaptative and resilient than we ever before imagined, making this world of ours an even more mysterious and wonderful place to live.
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