living fossil

noun

Definition of living fossil 

: an organism (such as a horseshoe crab or a ginkgo tree) that has remained essentially unchanged from earlier geologic times and whose close relatives are usually extinct

Examples of living fossil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

State Threatened The lake sturgeon is Michigan’s largest fish species and is often referred to as a living fossil. Michigan Wildlife Council, Detroit Free Press, "Polishing a gem: Plan aims for St. Clair-Detroit River system improvements," 10 July 2018 And wander into the old pink building, a living fossil built by the heiress to a copper fortune around 1930 to provide genteel lodgings for genteel people in this Mexican hellhole of a town burning in this unspeakable desert. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Red Caddy," 24 Apr. 2018 Its spiral shape was inspired by the nautilus, the self-replicating living fossil. Washington Post, "Monument honoring Virginia native tribes awaits ceremony," 6 Mar. 2018 After all, the living fossils of the Indian Ocean’s depths hardly impinge on their Atlantic way of life—and if an Icelander found a pressing need to talk about them, why not just use the Greek word, as other nations do? The Economist, "An old tongue’s new tricksThe strange reinvention of Icelandic," 19 Dec. 2017 But now, the lethal combination of climate change, habitat loss and over-harvesting means that these living fossils face their biggest existential challenge yet. Camilla Cerea, Smithsonian, "Forget Dinos: Horseshoe Crabs Are Stranger, More Ancient—And Still Alive Today," 5 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'living fossil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of living fossil

1859, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of living fossil was in 1859

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