What is a ‘Lazarus Taxon’? Do they really exist? Why would science say that some creatures do exist and others don’t? When does hard evidence silence those that don’t want to see? Could we be the reason that some of these creatures are coming around now?
First off let’s look at the words ‘Lazarus Taxon’ and see what they mean. According to encyclopedia.com the meaning of the saying is: “A taxon that disappears from the fossil record close to an extinction horizon, but reappears again much later in the sequence.”1
What are some of the more commonly known ‘Lazarus Taxon’ that are swimming in the world today? The Coelacanth was thought to be extinct for more than 65 million years. Then one was discovered off the east coast of South Africa.2 There is also the Neoglyphea neocaledonica (a name you might not recognize but the thought of cross between a shrimp and a mud lobster might stick in your mind). They were thought to have died out about 60 million years ago. Well, watch your toes in the water. In 2006, French scientist found a female specimen proving that the species is not gone.2
Do you like whales? We have a wonderful friend for you. This is the Pygmy Right Whale. They were thought to have been gone about 2 million years ago. They were found not too long ago and studying them is a challenge. They only come close to shore a rare few times. The reason that we know about them is that one was found on the beach and that they are different from most modern whales and the skull resembles an ancient family of whales.
So, what else could be out there? We know of Colossal Squid, a creature that was a myth that sailors told until it was seen in real life. We know of the Megamouth Shark that was found in the 1970’s. Could something the size of Megalodon still be in the waters?
Now there have been no solid proof that Megalodon went extinct, but the theories are out there. One is that climate change caused them to not be able to hunt, one is that when the waters got colder and the Isthmus of Panama was created that the whales were able to avoid the Megalodon but there is no proof other than the teeth that people have found saying that the animal is dead.
So here is the challenge for science in my eyes. Using the standard Scientific Method show proof beyond reasonable doubt that the Megalodon is dead or alive. This will include re-carbon dating the tooth found on North Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. The current thought is that the tooth is over a million years old.3 There have been ones that were tested to be younger than that. There is the tooth that was said to be found by the HMS Challenger that was said to be 10,000 to 15,000 years old but there is no way to know for sure.
Before you accept what you are told is true – dig, ask questions, you may be surprised at what you find below the surface.
1} “Lazarus taxon.” A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved May 08, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/lazarus-taxon