Extinction is always sad. But in some cases, we mourn too soon: not all species declared extinct actually are. Those are called Lazarus species, after the biblical story in which Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. It can be incredibly hard to know whether a species is extinct or just hard to find, but it only takes the discovery of a single animal to prove the species is still around. Take the coelacanth (pronounced SEEL-uh-kanth), an ancient 2-meter (6.5-foot) long fish with lobe fins that move eerily like a horse's legs. These creatures were believed to have died out with the dinosaurs, but one was finally discovered in 1938 off the coast of South Africa. Experts estimate that only 500 are alive today.
3 Extinct Animals Making A Comeback
Lazarus frogs, fish, and deer, oh my!
5 Bizarre Facts About The Coelacanth
This is a truly weird animal.
Saving The Lord Howe Island Stick Insect
Find out how we're working to boost the numbers of this rare insect.
Written by Curiosity Staff October 24, 2016
Wake up with the smartest email in your inbox.
Our Best Articles Daily