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living fossil

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noun
  1. an organism that is a living example of an otherwise extinct group and that has remained virtually unchanged in structure and function over a long period of time, as the coelacanth and the horseshoe crab.

Origin of living fossil

First recorded in 1920–25
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for living fossil

living fossil

noun
  1. an animal or plant, such as the coelacanth and ginkgo, belonging to a group most of whose members are extinct
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012