Elvis taxon

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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 filled 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.

The term was coined by D. H. Erwin and M. L. Droser in a 1993 paper to distinguish descendant from non-descendant taxa:

"Rather than continue the biblical tradition favored by Jablonski , we prefer a more topical approach and suggest that such taxa should be known as Elvis taxa, in recognition of the many Elvis impersonators who have appeared since the death of The King."

Lobothyris subgregaria, a brachiopod from the early Jurassic period, is one example of such a...
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