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In contrast, a living fossil is a species or lineage that has undergone exceptionally little change over a long time (i.e., as if the fossil species has always lived).
Dinoflagellates include also such examples, which have been first described as fossil-taxa (being typified on coccoid, occasionally calcareous cell remnants: dinocysts), but stratigraphically range until today.
Just because a living fossil is a surviving representative of an archaic lineage does not necessarily require that it retains all of the "primitive" features (plesiomorphies) of the lineage it is descended from.
In several cases, living fossils are species-poor lineages, but this is not always the case.
The term is not formally defined, but is commonly used in the scientific literature to mean a group characterized by an exceptionally low rate of evolution.
A living fossil is a living species (or clade) of organism that closely resembles species otherwise known only from the fossil record.