10 Animals That Outlived Extinctions in the World

10 incredible animals that have survived multiple extinctions, showcasing their remarkable adaptability and enduring presence on Earth.

Pets Blog
19. Jun 2024
10 Animals That Outlived Extinctions in the World

Throughout Earth's history, there have been several mass extinction events that wiped out many species and changed the planet's biodiversity. Despite these drastic changes, some animals have managed to survive, showing incredible adaptability and strength. Here are ten amazing animals that have outlived these extinctions and continue to thrive today.

1. Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus)

Ancient Survivors

Horseshoe crabs have been around for over 450 million years, predating the dinosaurs by millions of years. These resilient arthropods have survived multiple mass extinctions, including the Permian-Triassic extinction event, which wiped out approximately 96% of marine species.

Remarkable Adaptations

Their tough exoskeletons and the ability to tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions have been key to their survival. Horseshoe crabs also play a crucial role in modern medicine, as their blue blood contains a substance used to test for bacterial contamination in medical equipment.

2. Coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae)

Living Fossils

Coelacanths were thought to have gone extinct around 66 million years ago, until a living specimen was discovered off the coast of South Africa in 1938. These "living fossils" have changed little over the last 400 million years.

Deep-Sea Dwellers

Inhabiting deep ocean waters, coelacanths have managed to avoid many of the environmental changes that affected species in shallower waters. Their slow metabolism and specialized adaptations for deep-sea life have contributed to their longevity.

3. Nautilus (Nautilidae family)

Shells of Resilience

Nautiluses have been around for approximately 500 million years, surviving all five major extinction events. Their spiral shells are not only iconic but also function as buoyancy devices, allowing them to navigate the ocean depths.

Survival Mechanisms

Their ability to live in deep, stable environments and their relatively low reproductive rates have enabled them to maintain their populations over the millennia.

4. Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus)

Unique Reptiles

Tuatara are the only surviving members of an ancient group of reptiles that flourished around 200 million years ago. Endemic to New Zealand, they have outlasted their relatives, the dinosaurs, by tens of millions of years.

Adaptations to Isolation

Their survival can be attributed to New Zealand's isolation and their ability to thrive in cooler climates, which has helped them avoid competition and predation from more aggressive species.

5. Sturgeon (Acipenseridae family)

Ancient Fish

Sturgeons have existed for over 200 million years, surviving the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs. These large, slow-growing fish are known for their bony scutes and elongated bodies.

River Dwellers

Living primarily in large river systems and estuaries, sturgeons have avoided many of the changes that have affected marine and terrestrial species. However, they are currently facing significant threats from overfishing and habitat destruction.

6. Gingko Tree (Ginkgo biloba)

Botanical Survivors

Ginkgo biloba is often referred to as a "living fossil" due to its unchanged appearance over the past 200 million years. This resilient tree species has survived multiple extinction events, including the Permian-Triassic extinction.

Hardiness and Longevity

Ginkgo trees are incredibly hardy, resistant to pests, diseases, and even pollution. Their ability to live for thousands of years has ensured their continued presence through changing climates and environmental conditions.

7. Cockroach (Blattodea order)

Ultimate Survivors

Cockroaches have existed for over 300 million years, surviving all major extinction events. Their reputation for resilience is well-earned, as they can tolerate extreme conditions and have a high reproductive rate.

Versatile Adaptations

Their adaptability to various habitats, omnivorous diet, and ability to withstand radiation and dehydration have made them one of the most enduring species on the planet.

8. Jellyfish (Medusozoa class)

Ancient Invertebrates

Jellyfish have been floating through Earth's oceans for over 500 million years, predating many of the planet’s current life forms. They have survived multiple extinction events thanks to their simple but effective biological structure.

Environmental Flexibility

Their ability to thrive in a wide range of oceanic conditions, from the surface to deep waters, and their reproductive strategies have ensured their persistence through drastic environmental changes.

9. Velvet Worm (Onychophora phylum)

Primitive Predators

Velvet worms, or onychophorans, are ancient creatures that have existed for around 500 million years. These small, soft-bodied invertebrates are found in tropical forests and have remained relatively unchanged.

Secretive Lifestyle

Their secretive, nocturnal lifestyle and preference for moist, hidden environments have protected them from many of the environmental upheavals that have driven other species to extinction.

10. Crocodile (Crocodylidae family)

Relics of the Dinosaur Age

Crocodiles have been around for about 200 million years, surviving the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. These formidable reptiles have changed little over the millennia.

Survival Skills

Their ability to inhabit diverse environments, from rivers to coastal regions, and their opportunistic feeding habits have allowed them to persist through significant climatic and ecological changes.


The resilience of these animals is a testament to the power of adaptation and survival. Each of these species has navigated the challenges of multiple extinction events, evolving traits that have enabled them to endure when many others could not. Understanding their survival stories not only provides insight into Earth's history but also highlights the importance of biodiversity and conservation in our rapidly changing world.

Note - We can not guarantee that the information on this page is 100% correct. Some article is created with help of AI.


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