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17 animals that are living fossils

By: Bryan Nelson on March 11, 2019, 10:30 a.m.
A koala bear climbing up a branch

Photo: napocska/Shutterstock

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These Australian marsupials are an icon for wildlife across the globe — a familiarity that overshadows their uniqueness.

Though often referred to as bears, they are not related to bears at all. In fact, they are members of the family Phascolarctidae.

As marsupials, they carry their young in a pouch. Fossils of koalas are rare, but these marsupials have been around for at least 20 million years. Back then, they evolved to live in rain forests rather than the eucalypti forests where they currently reside.