There is that old cliché that we know more about the surface of Mars (or the Moon or Space, heard it said a few different ways) than the oceans here on Planet Earth. People like to tout this out when they’re trying to add an element of mystery to a story that involves the sea. But this really does seem to be the case when it comes to long thought of extinct creatures. Take for example the Coelacanth.
The Coelacanth was thought to have died out Late Cretaceous period but it survived and still survives today, albeit it is a rare fish. The Coelacanth is a perfect example of Lazarus taxon. Could there be trilobites, or direct living descendants of trilobites still out there in the seas? As we have seen over the years the seas have yielded many strange and unknown creatures like the Giant Squid and Goblin Sharks. What else is below?
As we know, trilobites went extinct millions of years ago. The exact time and circumstance are up for debate. There are no known direct descendants of trilobites around today. Some argue that the horseshoe crab is one or horseshoe shrimp is another but that hasn’t been proven. Trilobites were thought to have exerted a great ability to adapt to new situations. Trilobites may have had a symbiotic relationship with sulfur-eating bacteria (the same that’s found hydrothermal vents). Could they still be found in the deep?
My bet is that with the demand for new sources of fossil fuels and other mineral wealth, deep sea drilling will reveal that this creature beat extinction or has a direct descendent living in the oceans of the world today. The date was chosen because my now 2 year old nephew Mason Callahan will be 60 (I will be a young 93) and my yet unborn kid will have a chance to see if this pans out.
Challenge Vincent T Ciaramella to a bet on this prediction!