Long-Fingered Frog And 4 Other Long-Lost Species [SLIDESHOW]

By on
One of the best known examples of a Lazarus species is the Coelacanth, a spiny, prehistoric fish. The fish grows up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) long but is worthless as food since its flesh has a foul taste. Coelacanths were thought to have gone extinct 65 million to 145 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period until a fisherman caught one off the coast of South Africa in 1938. South African and Indonesian fishermen often catch specimens while fishing for oilfish, which feed at the same time as coelacanths. Reuters

Researchers in Africa recently rediscovered a single specimen of a long-fingered frog, a species thought to be extinct since 1949. The male frog has a long finger akin to the ring finger on humans.

Burundi, where the frog was found, is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa. But to researcher's surprise, they were able to find the frog quite easily.

I thought I heard the [frog's call] and walked toward it, then waited, David Blackburn, lead researcher and assistant curator of herpetology at the California Academy of Sciences, said in a statement. In a tremendous stroke of luck, I casually moved aside some grass and the frog was just sitting there on a log. I heard multiple calls over the next few nights, indicating a healthy population of the species, but I was only able to find this one specimen.

Species such as the long-fingered frog that disappear for years before resurfacing are known as Lazarus species, named after the biblical character Jesus raised from the dead.

Click through the slideshow for examples of some Lazarus species.

Join the Discussion