Lazarus Species

Posted by AngelEowyn

I was inspired to document this after seeing articles in a short period of time on rediscovered animals thought to have been extinct.

The giant tortoise, the world’s largest bee… there were other articles too which I didn’t bookmark because I didn’t think much of it until I began to see a string of these. The first 2 on this list are certainly strange. The Fernandina Giant Tortoise was for some people not extinct even though this was the headlines of the article. However, this confusion could be due to the fact that this Tortoise was not actually officially declared extinct – it was just believed to have been extinct. So whether this is a form of Quantum Shifting is something you guys need to decide for yourselves. But the World’s largest bee is something entirely different. People are saying they have never even heard of it. So, as is my usual thing, I decided to dig a bit deeper and try and find some more so-called Lazarus Species – animals thought to have been extinct but then rediscovered or rather raised from the dead. This is just a few of them. There are many more.


THE WORLD’S LARGEST bee may also be the planet’s most elusive. First discovered in 1859 by the prominent scientist Alfred Russel Wallace, nobody could locate it again, and it was presumed extinct. In 1981, an entomologist named Adam Messer searched and found it on three islands in Indonesia. He collected a specimen and wrote about his discovery in 1984. Now, for the first time, it has been photographed and filmed alive in the wild, by a team including nature photographer Clay Bolt. Meanwhile, in the last year, two specimens of the insect have been sold on eBay for thousands of dollars, raising fears about its continued survival. The bee, which grows up to an inch and a half long with a wingspan of 2.5 inches, has large mandibles that almost look like those of a stag beetle. It uses them to scrape sticky resin off trees to build burrows within termite nests, where females raise their young. Like other bees, it feeds on nectar and pollen. Messer wrote in 1984 that it remains rare in its range, and as this solitary bee lives only in aerial termite mounds, isn’t exactly easy to find. It was collected in 1991 by a French researcher, though not filmed or photographed at that time. One of the most notable things about the bee was the sound of her wings: a “deep, slow thrum that you could almost feel as well as hear,” Bolt says.

One thing that I must say about this and the reasons given for not publishing the first sighting in 1991 was actually to protect the bee from insect collectors. So, what changed that? Why publish now?



The Fernandina giant tortoise was last confirmed alive in 1906. This female is estimated to be 100 years old. With giant tortoises living up to 200 years, there’s hope she can help her species recover. Though not officially declared extinct, these giant tortoises on the island of Fernandina had been feared by many to have been lost to the ages. The last sighting, of a lone male tortoise, was in 1906. In the decades since then, there had been signs of the species’ continued survival on the island. The occasional discovery of tortoise droppings and bite marks provided some reassurance, but any tortoises themselves remained out of sight. That is, until recently. It was announced that researchers on an Animal Planet funded expedition had located a female giant tortoise on Fernandina.


One might argue that these are just animals that are so rare that we assume they are extinct and then one day… someone notices one purely by chance. I also understand that some animals are really very good at hiding and we cannot see all of them. But what if these are cases of Quantum Shifting? In this article, there are examples of animals that had vanished for many years, in some cases for hundreds of years, and suddenly they reappeared. As another article also pointed out, these giants were rediscovered within weeks of each other. What are the chances of that happening?


A LARGE STICK insect from a remote Australian island is back from the dead. It’s hard to miss a Lord Howe Island stick insect, sometimes called a “tree lobster.” Their blackish brown bodies grow to be nearly six inches long, and the robust insect has a sturdy abdomen and six long legs. For decades it appeared to be extinct, but new DNA research reveals that may not be the case. To understand the insect’s complicated and sudden revival, you have to go back to a small island as it was 100 years ago. The massive population decline of these stick insects began with a shipwreck in 1918, on their namesake Lord Howe Island, a small, lush landmass jutting out of the ocean off the east coast of Australia. In addition to its crew, the ship contained a horde of rats that quickly invaded. With no larger mammals to hunt and kill the rats, their population exploded. The stick insect was eventually classified as extinct in 1983, along with 12 other insect species and five bird species. In 1960, a group of rock climbers visited another small volcanic rock island nearby, named Ball’s Pyramid. It was there that they found what appeared to be the dead remains of the “extinct” stick creatures. It wasn’t until 2001 that researchers returned to Ball’s Pyramid. Atop a tea tree, 213 feet above sea level, sat a few living examples of what appeared to be Lord Howe Island stick insects. In the year that followed, several of the insects were collected and placed in a captive breeding program at the Melbourne Zoo. However, for nearly a decade, the identity of the insects was the subject of debate. Visually, the captive-bred stick insects looked different—they had darker brown bodies and their back legs were thinner than museum specimens of the stick insects from Lord Howe Island. It wasn’t until genome sequencing was conducted on both the museum specimens and the captive-bred stick insects that scientists realized they had a less than one percent genetic variance—enough to officially classify them as the same species. These findings were recently published in the journal Current Biology. The subtle physical differences are still a mystery. Researchers think it may have to do with variances in environmental conditions or in an individual insect’s age.



During recent monitoring, scientists from the Wild Deserts conservation group spotted the first crest-tailed mulgara in Tibooburra’s Sturt National Park in more than a hundred years. The small, carnivorous marsupial is a Guinea pig-size relative of the Tasmanian devil, says ecologist Rebecca West, who was involved with the find. The mammal weighs less than five-and-a-half ounces and sports a coat of pale, blond fur. Its thick tail, measuring a little less than half its body length, is tipped with a distinctive black crest that gives the animal its name. West adds the “ferocious little micro predator” eats small mammals, reptiles, and insects. After finding the mulgara, which was an immature female, they measured it and released it back into the desert in the hopes that it would find a mate and reproduce. The researchers recognized the mammal because they had worked with this species in other parts of Australia before.



First discovered only a decade ago. Scouting for dolphins near Madagascar a few years ago, Salvatore Cerchio, a National Geographic explorer, stumbled onto Omura’s whales. With their striking dark-light patterns and super-streamlined profile, Omura’s whales are a combination of “grace and beauty,” says Cerchio. “They are stunning animals.” Cerchio’s team made 44 sightings of the whales off Madagascar during 2013 and 2014 and more than 80 sightings in 2015. Cerchio’s team, which observed the whales swallowing murky water as recently as late 2015, suspects the whales are filtering out food such as fish eggs or tiny plankton that are almost invisible to the human eye. The new observations also showed the Omura’s social habits are distinctive. It doesn’t form tight-knit pods like many other whale species, but it isn’t solitary either. Instead the Omura’s was seen hanging out in loose groups of up to a half-dozen animals. Animals stay within hearing range of each other, but give each other plenty of personal space. The whales sing a low, repetitive melody that they may repeat for an hour or more. Occasionally multiple whales raise their voices in an Omura’s chorus.


PUBLISHED 2005 after 69 years

You may forgive scientists for not being able to keep track of species that can move around, but surely sedentary species such as plants are easier to study? Mount Diablo Buckwheat, Eriogonum truncatumis, found only on Mount Diablo, California, was discovered in 1862. However, despite the area being studied in depth, only seven specimens were recorded, the last of which was found in 1936. Consequently, this species, which has a small pink flower, was declared extinct, presumed outcompeted by introduced species, until it was found accidentally in 2005 by a researcher working on the edge of its recorded range. Hundreds of thousands of seeds have now been propagated, ensuring that the species won’t become extinct again – at least not in our lifetimes.


REDISCOVERED 2013 after 101 years

Unfortunately, this one is shrouded in controversy and doubt. John Young, the man who rediscovered the Night Parrot in 2013 is currently under scrutiny as is some of his evidence. On a blog post, he defends his findings and allegations that he illegally captured the bird in order to obtain clear images of it. Young was forced to resign from AWC (Australian Wildlife Conservancy). Other evidence in question is regarding Young‘s claim that the Night parrots have established a new population in Southern Australia. As abc’s website quotes “Proof of a new night parrot population in South Australia is in doubt as the Australian Wildlife Conservancy has removed all information about the rare bird from its website until an investigation is completed.” Young claims to have found feathers and a nest proving that the Night Parrot is once again alive and thriving in Southern Australia. However, the feathers sent in for analysis seem to differ from those on the images photographed by Young, and some say that the eggs clearly look fake. So, the question still remains if Young decided to embellish or not… What appears to be genuine though is the fact that he photographed the bird – the only thing in question here is how.


Discovered and seen only once in 1868, rediscovered in 2015 after 147 years!!

The Rhaphium pectinatum is a species of fly thought to be extinct. It was only seen once in July 1868 but was spotted by naturalist Rob Wolton at the Devon Wildlife Trust nature reserve in the United Kingdom in 2015.


Rediscovered in 2015 after 40 years

The primate had not been seen since the 1970s so many experts assumed that it was extinct. The species was photographed in 2015 in the newest wildlife reserve in the Republic of Congo, the Ntokou-Pikounda National Park.


Rediscovered between 2013 and 2017 after 130 years

This was actually featured in one of my videos on Mandanimals. Sometimes, the best defense is a great disguise. The oriental blue clearwing is a Malaysian moth that resembles a few of the bees and wasps in its native area. To pass itself off as a stinging insect, the creature’s evolved a bee-like color pattern. It also makes an ominous buzzing noise while flying. The species first came to scientific light in 1887, when a dead specimen was collected and shipped off to the Natural History Museum in Vienna. For 130 years, no other specimens—living or deceased—were reported. As such, scientists had no way of knowing if the oriental blue clearwing had succumbed to extinction. But now, the mystery has been put to rest.   

Marta Skowron Viloponi is a Polish entomologist at the University of Gdansk. Between 2013 and 2017, she and her husband, Paolo, photographed a handful of live oriental blue clearwings in southern Malaysia. After a DNA test confirmed that they had, indeed, rediscovered this long-lost species, the Viloponis announced their big find to the world in a paper published on November 24, 2017.


REDISCOVERED IN 2015 after 42 years

During a 1975 expedition into the forests of Guatemala, herpetologists Paul Elias and Jeremy Jackson discovered three then-unknown salamander species. One of these, the Jackson’s climbing salamander, was a vibrant yellow creature whose appearance earned it the nickname “golden wonder.” Yet, eye-catching as it is, the animal has proven quite elusive. In fact, after Jackson and Elias identified the critter in ’75, nobody would see one again for another 42 years. The situation looked especially hopeless in 2014, when Jackson and Elias themselves went on a follow-up trip through the same area. Though they carefully retraced the steps they’d taken decades earlier, not a single “golden wonder” was spotted this time.

Then along came a park ranger on a lunch break. In 2015, one of the rangers was taking a break when he noticed an attractive yellow salamander. He photographed it and sent the pictures off for identification. Sure enough, it was a Jackson’s climbing salamander.


REDISCOVERED 2016 after 60 years

It’s a little brown songbird named after a state in Venezuela. In 1955 and 1956, ornithologists discovered this species near the country’s Colombian border, and that’s the last anyone saw of it for a long while. Because no other sightings or encounters were announced over the following six decades, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) labeled the Táchira antpitta “critically endangered. ”This year, though, we learned about a 2016 expedition that verified that the species hasn’t perished. The trip in question was orchestrated by an international conservation partnership called the Red Siskin Initiative. Led by biologist Jhonathan Miranda, the team set out to find living specimens of near-extinct birds in western Venezuela. On the first full day of their trip, the team hit the jackpot when they became the first people to identify a Táchira antpitta’s distinctive cry since 1956. Later on, the explorers managed to photograph one of the birds. Altogether, they spotted two individuals and heard a total of four.



A lot of controversy surrounds this animal. Scientists can’t reach a consensus on how the New Guinea highland wild dog should be classified. Some say it’s a valid canine species, others regard it as merely a dingo subspecies, and still others write off the creature as a primitive domestic dog breed.In any event, the pooch is world famous for its weird, high-pitched howl. The first western scientist to learn of its existence was English zoologist Charles Walter Di Vis, who came across one on Mount Scratchley in Papua New Guinea back in 1897. A handful of these dogs were exported in the 1950s and today, captive-bred specimens can be found in zoos from Neumünster, Germany to Kansas City, Missouri. But what happened to their wild counterparts? One free-roaming individual was photographed on New Guinea’s Star Mountains in 1989. However, no other verified encounters with these dogs in their natural habitat were made until September 2016, when researchers used camera traps to snag 140 photographs of a wild group of at least 15 canines. The participating adventurers also documented paw prints and gathered fecal material. News of their findings was broken in a March 24, 2017 press release from the New Guinea Highland Wild Dog Foundation, a nonprofit activist group.


Thought to have gone extinct millions of years ago; Rediscovered in 1938

Possibly the most famous Lazarus species, the coelacanth, was thought to have gone extinct at the same time as the dinosaurs, but in 1938 one was discovered off the coast of South Africa. Coelacanths are closely-related to lungfish and are thought to be an evolutionary transitional species between fish and tetrapods (four-legged creatures). The fish tend to shelter in deep water caves, largely out of sight, but it is estimated that there could be only 500 or so left alive.



The cahow, also known as the Bermuda Petrel, is a bird that is rarely seen, even today. When Spanish sailors in the 1500s used Bermuda’s islands as stopping points between their attacks on the Incas, they often relied on ever-plentiful Petrel for food. Later, with colonization and the destruction of their natural habitat, the birds soon died out and were declared to be extinct by the early 1600s.

The story could have just stopped there, but a whopping 300 years later zoologist William Beebe was given an injured seabird, which he identified as being a Bermuda Petrel. A few years later, he took in another bird of the same kind before releasing it for rehabilitation. Nowadays, David Wingate watches over the still small colony of birds where they nest on Castle Harbor.


Rediscovered in 2013 after 70 years

If you’ve seen one little brown bird, you’ve seen them all, right? Many people wouldn’t be able to pick out the Myanmar Jerdon’s Babbler from any other small brown bird, and it might be this very thing that has allowed it to go undetected for 70 years! The last time the bird was sighted was in 1941, in the grasslands around Myitkyina, Myanmar. Before long, bird books were saying that the animal was extinct, and it continued to slip into obscurity.

Then, in 2013, a group of researchers essentially stumbled across a small population of the birds. They went out to the grassland habitat where they had originally been seen, and heard a strange call. They recorded the call, played it back at high volume, and sure enough, these little brown birds, missing for decades, popped by to see what all the noise was about.


Rediscovered in 2012 after 120 years

In 2012, a group of Australian researchers went to Papua New Guinea to study microbats in their habitat. They trapped 41 different species of bats, plus one extra that they just couldn’t identify, which they brought back as a sample for study. Years later, researchers finally determined that the specimen in question was a New Guinea big-eared bat, a creature that had not been seen in over 120 years!


Rediscovered in 2018 after 90 years

The ultra-rare Wondiwoi tree kangaroo was last recorded by scientists in 1928, and researchers only had drawings like this one to go on. It has now been photographed in a remote New Guinea mountain range.