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17 animals that are living fossils

By: Bryan Nelson on March 11, 2019, 10:30 a.m.
A sandhill crane taking flight over the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area in Indiana.

Photo: Haricharan/Flickr

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Sandhill crane

While many birds can trace their ancestry back to dinosaurs, fossils show that the sandhill crane itself dates back 2.5 million years. Ancient sandhill cranes varied in size compared to today. Now, there are several subspecies of sandhill cranes that live in North America — some of which are listed as endangered.

Sandhill cranes are popular with bird enthusiasts because of their annual migration. Hundreds of thousands migrate from Mexico and the southern U.S. all the way up to the Arctic.