Monday, 24 February 2014

Some of these species have existed virtually unchanged for millions of years. One was thought to be extinct. All of these have very minimal change from the time of the dinosaurs or beyond, and all are things you can obtain and keep in the UK without spending an absolute fortune.

Dawn Redwood - Metasequoia glyptostroboides.

Thought to be extinct for millions of years, a single specimen was found alive in 1941 in China. Although critically endangered in its natural habitat, these are widely available as seeds or saplings online. This is a large fast growing redwood but is also often cultivated as a bonsai tree. The dawn redwood is the only known deciduous conifer. Grew fron the Cretaceous up until 2mya.

TREE FERN - Dicksonia Antarctica

 A very common plant in the Jurassic, these continued to growin New Zealand and are widely available as seedlings

Ginkgo, Ginkgo biloba  - Cretaceous. This tree is thought to have gone extinct in the wild, but been cultivated in Buddhist monasteries, and then as an ornamental tree.

Monkey Puzzle Tree - Araucaria araucana

The closest relative to the trees which flourished in the carboniferous period.

Horsetail Plants

Cretacous - prefer very damp locations, ideal to plant near ponds, but can be grown indoors or out if you keep,


Fossil ant nests have been found from the Jurassic period. The ants of this time spent more time underground, but they aren't too far from modern ants.

 OK you probably don't want to keep these as pets - but they have been around from the time of the dinosaurs, as well as their  companion, malaria - all right we definitely do not want to keep that living fossil, but perhaps understanding how it evolved may help us to fight it someday.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach:
Not completely unchanged but very very close to the creatures that have survived every mass extinction event in the history of the earth - and if anything survives the next one, my bet would be on these things. All the same, not something I really want to keep in the house, but many people do. You can buy one on ebay for about £7 including postage.

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