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  • In paleontology, an Elvis taxon (plural Elvis taxa) is a taxon which has been misidentified as having re-emerged in the fossil record after a period of presumed extinction, but is not actually a descendant of the original taxon, instead having developed a similar morphology through convergent evolution. This implies the extinction of the original taxon is real, and the two taxa are polyphyletic.

    By contrast, a Lazarus taxon is one which actually is a descendant of the original taxon, and highlights missing fossil records, which may be found later. A zombie taxon is a type of Lazarus taxon sample that was mobile in the time between its original death and its subsequent discovery in a site of younger classification, like, for example, a trilobite that gets eroded out of its Cambrian-aged limestone matrix, and reworked into Miocene-aged siltstone.

    (From Wikipedia)

    December 20, 2011

  • Coined by my former colleague Diane Erwin and her coathor in a 1993 paper in the journal Palaios. Nice contrast with Lazarus taxon, deinonychus.

    January 30, 2014