There are still parts of our world that have yet to be explored but as scientists continue to plumb the depths of our planet they are discovering things which they considered to be either extinct or fit into the category of what they call living fossils.
The newest member of the living fossil category has been discovered off the coast of the Republic of Palau in an underwater cave. Originally discovered during a 35m dive scientists had to do some extensive genetic studying and creat a new taxonomic family in order to classify the newly named Protoanguilla palau eel.
The results of their analysis indicate that this eel probably started to evolve independently during the early Mesozoic era. The Protoanguilla eels may once have been more widely distributed around the world, but without any fossil record of these creatures, it is difficult to determine. This is what led the researchers to call the specimen a “living fossil,” because some of its features are more primitive than modern eels, including some that are even more primitive than fossilized eels from long ago.
Even today our world is capable of surprising us with wonders of all kinds.
image courtesy of Sydney Morning Herald