'Living Fossils' Aren't Really a Thing

  • Published on:  10/16/2017
  • Try CuriosityStream today: http://curiositystream.com/eonsViewers like you help make PBS (Thank you 😃) . Support your local PBS Member Station here: https://to.pbs.org/DonateEONSCrocodiles, horseshoe crabs and tuatara are animals that have persisted for millions of years, said to have gone unchanged since the days of the dinosaurs. But even the most ancient-looking organisms show us that evolution is always at work.Special thanks to Nobumichi Tamura for allowing us to use his paleoart. Check out his portfolio here: http://spinops.blogspot.comThanks to Nathan E. Rogers and Studio 252mya for their illustrations. You can find more of their work here: https://252mya.com/gallery/nathan-e-r...Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: http://youtube.com/pbsdigitalstudiosWant to follow Eons elsewhere on the internet?Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/eonsshowTwitter - https://twitter.com/eonsshowInstagram - https://www.instagram.com/eonsshow/References:http://www.nature.com/news/oldest-hom...http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/...http://www.nature.com/news/2008/08032...http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/...http://www.cell.com/trends/genetics/f...http://www.jstor.org/stable/2396218?s...http://sp.lyellcollection.org/content... http://journals.plos.org/plosone/arti... http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10... https://genomebiology.biomedcentral.c...


  • J Cortese
    J Cortese a years ago+348

    "Living fossil" == Sometimes Mother Nature just gets it right early on.

  • PaleGhost69
    PaleGhost69 a years ago+327

    Living fossils aren't a thing? Tell that to my mother

  • Zootycoonman223
    Zootycoonman223 a years ago+259

    Same thing wrong with asking: are humans STILL evolving? Of course yes. Metapopulation genetics fluctuate with each subsequent generation, oscillating around the average genetic change per generation. Metagenerations eventually have overarching ‘themes’ that result in genetic drift from the original generation - eventually oscillating into speciation. Humans and all life will forever evolve so long as they exist.

  • Cam Good
    Cam Good a years ago+294

    I thought everyone knew that "living fossils" was just a colorful term. The creatures obviously do exist today, and they aren't made of rock, so..? There are people who thought that the term had scientific significance?

  • Whitney Empey
    Whitney Empey a years ago+26

    I'd love to see a video on the eras, epochs, and periods because I don't know anything about them at all... or actually what the difference is between an era and a period...

  • Xaos Bob
    Xaos Bob a years ago+44

    I would love to see these develop into a longer format, say 12-15 minutes, so you can go a bit more in-depth with your topics. Citing studies on-screen (and in the description, when that would work) would be a good addition.

  • Sean Eik
    Sean Eik a years ago+37

    After seeing Hank Green in a turtle costume give a lecture on science, him saying I'm a living Fossil makes me laugh so much thinking back to the costume

  • Nick Hentschel
    Nick Hentschel a years ago+35

    My understanding, from an early age, was that "living fossil" was a colloquial term to describe an animal thought to have gone extinct long ago (i.e. before humans), but then found alive. Pretty specific, and not really worth debunking.

  • DrSharkBoy
    DrSharkBoy a years ago+76

    Talk about the evolution of whales.

  • The Biscuits
    The Biscuits a years ago+152

    Stupid science always trying to ruin John Green's metaphors

  • Sunny Apples
    Sunny Apples a years ago+52

    So in Game Theory, there is this concept of "Nash equilibrium" where every player in the game has nothing to gain by changing their strategy. I would expect living things in a environment that doesn't change much to fall into this Nash equilibrium, and stick to their survival strategy for a long time.

  • Mike Bee
    Mike Bee a years ago+31

    I've been subscribed since day one after seeing this channel on PBS's Spacetime. I love this channel and the subject matter but I feel like the format would really benefit from a slightly longer duration. Obviously the episodes don't need to be full length thirty minute features but at the current 5-6 minute average time, it is just enough time to get interesting and whet your appetite before it ends frustratingly short. I think the channel would really be perfect at the 10 minute mark and the level of detail that implies. I know it's still a fairly new channel and this isn't related to this specific video but I just wanted to leave feedback. Hopefully this is something that changes over time. Cheers. I love what you guys are doing and look forward to it every week.

  • General Dash
    General Dash a years ago+5

    He was so offended by Hank saying "living fossil" that he had to make a whole video about it to correct him.

  • D P
    D P a years ago+8

    Please do a video on the evolutionary radiation of early archosaurs and their kin during the Triassic! Thanks! :)

  • daubert
    daubert a years ago+5

    Yeah, "living fossil" is not politically correct, call it stabilomorphism if you prefer, however you cannot avoid the question of evolutionary speed by simply forbidding a phrase. "Evolution is always at work" Sure, but at what rate? You cannot deny that some lineages have a long history of bradytely (slow evolution), and this is not just superficial similarity. This video misses the point of refining a useful concept by throwing the baby with the bathwater.

  • Alaskan Psyche
    Alaskan Psyche a years ago+7

    I love the Vlogbrothers reference.

  • insect illuminati Get shrekt

    Do the evolution of arachnids

  • Maddog3025
    Maddog3025 a years ago+4

    I believe there needs to be an episode explaining how these "hoofed mammals" evolved into todays whales.

  • Gary Stark
    Gary Stark a years ago+51

    ok, I understand that animals never stop evolving, but still not clear why the term "living fossil" is so bad. What term would you suggest instead to describe animals that had very similar ancestors in the geologic past?

  • Brian Stark
    Brian Stark a years ago+2

    Eons always has the perfect blend of humour and scientific info!!