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"Dinosaurs are extinct, so you never can tell where you'll find them."
Hadji, Jonny Quest, "The Sea Haunt"

Everyone knows that certain species — both real and fictional — have been extinct for thousands of years...but if they're all gone, why is this story taking such pains to mention them? It's a safe bet that they aren't extinct at all, and that you'll meet one by the end of the story (if not sooner).

Also applies if the creature in question is thought to be a myth. A form of Chekhov's Gun. May involve an Egg MacGuffin.

Super-Trope to Fossil Revival and Living Dinosaurs. If they actually were extinct but are now coming back, see The Dragons Come Back.


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  • Two mechanics in a Volkswagen commercial discuss this when they find a full-sized spare tire in the trunk of a Jetta. One of them even mentions the coelacanth.

    Anime & Manga 
  • A.I. Love You: A "puppy" the main cast befriend turns out to really be the last Japanese wolf cub.
  • Assassination Classroom: The Japanese river otter, declared extinct in 2012, appears in chapters 56 and 88.
  • Bleach: Uryū Ishida introduced himself as "the last Quincy", due to the long belief that the Quincies went extinct after they lost the war against the Shinigami 1000 years ago. After the death of his grandfather Souken, Ishida assumes that he himself is The Last of His Kind and was then later surprised to learn that his father Ryūken was also taught in the way of the Quincies, despite him not caring to follow Souken's footsteps at all. The final arc reveals that an entire kingdom of Quincies have been hiding in the shadows for 1000 years and that they aren't completely comprised of only archers, as they abandoned the old ways of the Quincies, leaving the Ishida family as the sole traditional Quincies. Even after the final arc ended, there are still surviving Quincies running around.
  • Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might: The Beenz twins Rezun and Rakasei (the two purple midgets) are members of an extinct race Big Bad Turles revived from fossils using extract of the Tree of Might. Note that is not conveyed in the movie itself, but rather in All There in the Manual supplementary material released alongside it.
  • Fairy Tail: Frequently zigzagged regarding dragons. At the start of the series, Natsu Dragneel is trying to find his adoptive father Igneel the Fire Dragon, who disappeared seven years ago along with the parents of four other dragon slayers. However, over the course of the series, there have been a few people that state that dragons either don't exist or are extinct, at least until Acnologia appears. It's then revealed that 400 years ago, a dragon slayer named Acnologia went mad with power and turned into a dragon, before killing off the rest of his kind. Even the dragon slayers' parents lost their souls to him, and they had to seal themselves into their children's body while being sent 400 years to the present day to regain enough magic to fight him, and they had to move on from the Earth after destroying Face while Igneel is killed fighting Acnologia. And with the death of Acnologia and Irene, two humans turned into dragons, it seems that dragons are now extinct in Earthland. However, in Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest, it turns out five dragons had escaped Acnologia's genocide by fleeing to the northern continent Guiltina, where they grew in power to become the equivalent of dragon gods.
  • Negima!?: Asuna spends twenty-four out of twenty-six episodes looking for the Chupacabra which everyone says doesn't exist; they create a Chupacabra school club and order T-shirts and other items. At the end of the series, she finds one (which she quickly puts to work signing T-shirts.)
  • Pokémon: The Series: Certain species of Pokémon (known as "Fossil Pokémon") are known to have been extinct for tens of thousands of years. Then, in "Attack of the Prehistoric Pokémon", Ash and his friends finds a cave full of the thought-extinct Aerodactyl, Kabuto, and Omanyte.
  • Wolf's Rain: Wolves were thought to have been extinct for 200 years, but were actually hanging on in disguise. Not for much longer, though — just until the end of the world.

  • Beast Fables:
    • "Catalysts of Transformation" speculates that if merfolk did exist, they're probably all dead by now... right above an image of a shark-person hiding from two werereptiles.
    • For a more meta use of this trope, some present-day werebeasts have animal forms that were extinct by the 19th century in the real world (which the setting's "present" is equivalent to), such as mammoths and moas.

    Comic Books 
  • DC Universe: Several characters have believed Kryptonians were extinct until they met Superman.
  • Gold Digger: Most "mythical" creatures such as dragons, elves, trolls, and were-beasts migrated from Earth to the planet Jade a few thousand years ago when the Age of Magic was coming to an end (although a few still stuck around in hiding).
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The Kree thought that the Cotati had died out after the war against them.
    • X-Men: The Savage Land plays with this, as it is a Lost World in the arctic with Living Dinosaurs and other extinct animals, but as it was actually created during prehistory its wildlife cannot truly be said to have been extinct and revived. Instead, they were preserved from extinction and have carried on for millions of years as though the K-T meteor never hit.
  • Skull Island: The Birth of Kong: This MonsterVerse graphic novel indicates that Dr. Brooks' notes inaccurately assumed that Kong wiped all the Skullcrawlers out during the movie despite it clearly being stated that there's many more of the species living in the subterranean vents below. As a result, Aaron is surprised to see living Skullcrawlers on the island.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert: In a very early strip, Dilbert works out that dinosaurs couldn't possibly be extinct, at which point Bob (who had been hiding behind the couch) reveals himself — while some dinosaurs had evolved into birds, the rest have hung on until the modern day and have just been hiding
  • Safe Havens: Samantha uses a DNA sample to turn two chickens into dodos. They end up producing a dodo egg, leading to Samantha's research on reviving a species. As of September 2016, there are now three generations of dodos: the original chickens, their son and a dodo another university revived, and the son's children.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Godzilla assumed that the previous Manda and his kind were extinct before becoming aware of Manda's egg.
  • The Bridge has numerous Kaiju that are prehistoric in origin note  and uses an alternate timeline of the Godzilla franchise. Expanded material shows that various Lost Worlds exist and have been documented since the early 2000s with some found earlier but falling into obscurity. The author also took the effort to explain how dinosaurs and many other prehistoric animals could go unnoticed in the fossil record for so long by showing all non-avian dinosaurs and the pterosaurs did go extinct 65 million years ago, but in many cases the Advanced Ancient Humans from the Rebirth of Mothra and Gamera series recreated numerous prehistoric species thousands of years in the past with a mix of science and mysticism, either for scientific curiosity or as genetic templates to create living weaponized kaiju against the Big Bad. So it's a case of Fossil Revival, just one that happened thousands of years ago and some remnants survived.
  • Re: My Hostage, Not Yours: Zim is shocked to realize that the Valkians are involved in the story's plot, as the Irkens have long believed them to be extinct. However, Jiji notes that their ship is heavily undermanned, implying that they're barely scrapping by. And then Zim kills the Queen, causing the rest to all die too.
  • In the There Was Once an Avenger From Krypton, it's revealed that the Trolls of Trollhunters were originally from Svartalfheim, where they were enslaved by the Dark Elves. When they rebelled against their masters by siding with the Asgardians during the Convergence, Malekith retaliated by trying to wipe them out, with everyone believing they succeeded. Thor is therefore relived and exhilarated to find out that some of them survived by escaping to Earth.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Godzilla / King Kong:
    • Godzilla himself. Before mutating, Godzilla was simply a Godzillasaurus who was living on a remote island somewhere near Japan. As the original film heavily implies and the sequels prove true, there's more than one Godzillasaurus in existence... of course, most of them have probably mutated by now.
    • King Kong: Dinosaurs inhabit Kong's Island. It is a "lost" island, after all.
    • The monster Baragon is some sort of ancient dinosaur-thing that has somehow managed to escape extinction by living underground in its initial appearance in Frankenstein Conquers the World. Another one, or possibly the same one, was later relocated to Monster Island in the film Destroy All Monsters.
    • In Rodan, people discover ancient giant Pteranodon eggs that hatch into the titular monsters and begin terrorizing Japan.
    • King Kong Escapes features Gorosaurus, a giant T-Rex type of dinosaur that was living on a remote island. It, or possibly another one of its species, was later moved to Monster Island in the film Destroy All Monsters.
    • Godzilla Raids Again: Anguirus is a giant ankylosaur that somehow managed to escape extinction... uh... somehow.
    • Godzilla vs. Destoroyah: Destoroyah originated from a preserved, isolated colony of microscopic Precambrian crustaceans that were mutated by the Oxygen Destroyer and conglomerated into a bigger creature.
    • Terror of Mechagodzilla: Titanosaurus was a giant sea-dwelling dinosaur who lived peacefully away from humans until a Mad Scientist discovered him.
  • The Jungle Book (2016): King Louie is changed from an extant orangutan in the animated film to an extinct Gigantopithecus, the largest known primate that ever existed.
  • Jurassic Park: The movies are rooted in this trope, as with the novels the first two films are based on. This trope is somewhat played with, though, as the revived dinosaurs are not perfect genetic revivals, but rather mutants created from incomplete dino DNA and LEGO Genetics. First book hero Alan Grant calls them "genetically-engineered theme-park monsters", which is a particularly apt description of the hybrids seen in Jurassic World.
  • Star Trek IV: Whales became this via Time Travel. Not necessarily a revival (as the actual whales were alive the entire trip), but still an example nonetheless.

  • Downplayed in Harry Potter. Word of God states that while none of the creatures Luna "Looney" Lovegood claims exist actually exist, the fact that she accepts their existence helped her in discovering many real magical creatures that were previously unknown.
  • In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Dodos are actually magical creatures who used their powers to avoid Muggles after the Muggles started hunting them. Only the Muggles still believe they are extinct.
  • In The Hollows, it's widely believed that elves were wiped out in the Turn, but a few survived, including Trent, Jonathan, and Quen.
  • On the Discworld a lot of standard fantasy creatures are extinct, though that's often synonymous with "trapped in a parallel dimension."
    • Giant, flying, fire-breathing dragons are shunted off in a dimension of their own. Their improbable biology requires magic to sustain, and the Discworld generally doesn't have enough magical energy around for them to exist anymore. There are exceptions, small pockets of high magic where dragons survive, and individual dragons can be summoned if enough magical energy is pumped into them.
    • Elves are similarly stuck in their own dimension(s), although there are weak points where travel is possible — lots of them in the Ramtop mountains.
    • Orcs were the foot soldiers of the defunct Evil Empire, and it's revealed in Unseen Academicals that the people of Uberwald have been exterminating the few survivors. They haven't been entirely successful.
  • Animorphs does this with the Venber in The Extreme. Though they're actually hybrids of Venber and humans brought back by the Yeerks.
  • In the Ravenloft novel Scholar of Decay, a wizard exploring some underground passages in Richemulot has a brief encounter with a black pudding, a D&D monster not at all typical of the Gothic Horror-style Land of Mists. He avoids it, then pauses to marvel at its presence, as they're considered to be extinct.
  • In Tamora Pierce's The Immortals, all sorts of species of magical creatures are coming back from exile in the Divine Realms where they had been locked by human mages so long ago that people had started to think they were just myths. The stories show the humans learning to deal with the chaos that ensues.
  • InCryptid: Everyone assumes Dragons died out three hundred years ago but it turns out one is hibernating under New York and female dragons have been in plain sight the entire time due to long lifespans and human appearances.
  • In China Miéville's The Scar, the discovery that Bas-Lag's ancient race of anophelii (mosquito-folk) aren't extinct comes as a shock to many in Armada. Soon enough, an Armadan diplomatic party goes to visit them, and brings one back with them.
  • In the Conan the Barbarian story "The Devil in Iron", Conan ventures into a mysterious city on an island that'd previously held only ruins. His suspicion that something has brought the long-dead settlement back to life is supported when he finds the intact pelt of a golden leopard in a bedchamber, and recognizes it as an animal that went extinct a thousand years ago. He later fights a giant snake, also of a species known to be extinct.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, nobody has seen a living dragon for about 150 years. Their eggs (of which Daenerys receives three as a wedding gift) are seen as valuable fossils, and people who make a serious effort to hatch them are generally considered crazy dreamers. Naturally, despite the low-magic setting, no reader believes this for a second. Daenerys hatches the eggs at the end of the first book.
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen has numerous examples of species that are thought to be extinct/myth but keep popping up. Examples include:
    • Dragons, or Eleint, as they are called in the setting, and especially the pure-blooded ones are thought to have disappeared from the world. Naturally, they turn up for the big finale.
    • The so-called Four Founding Races, said to be extinct by the start of the series, all turn out to still be around in some corner of the world. The T'lan Imass, the setting's version of Neanderthals, have turned their whole species undead, the Jaghut have never been very numerous and prefer solitary existence in remote places, the Forkrul Assail have hatched plans to remake the world in their image and are working on that behind the scenes and the K'Chain Che'Malle, bipedal Lizard Folk, have retired to a remote corner of the world after a particularly nasty Civil War.
    • Among the Tiste peoples, only the Tiste Andii are more or less known to be around, but their cousins the Tiste Liosan and Tiste Edur are supposed to be lost to myth. Turns out the Liosan have retreated to their home-world and the Edur have settled on a remote continent and garbled their origin myths quite thoroughly.
    • On the besties side of things, there are the Enkar'al of Seven Sities, huge winged lizards thought to have been hunted into extinction, but Kalam Mekhar still manages to bump into one in Deadhouse Gates.
  • In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World (1912), Professor Challenger brings a pterodactyl back to civilization. It escapes while it's being shown off.
  • Another one for human interference: in the Thursday Next book series, dodos and Neanderthals have been brought back to life thanks to new technologies.
  • Reg Chronotis from Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency went back in time in order to save the Coelacanth from extinction, at the price of having the dodo die out.
  • In The Company Novels, one of the Company's sidelines is buying up apparently worthless plots of land that coincidentally turn out to be the home of a breeding colony of some valuable species previously thought to be extinct. (Time travel is involved.)
  • Clive Cussler uses this trope in The Mediterranean Caper: Dirk Pitt comes into the book because he investigates sabotage on an expedition to find a rumored missing link between fish and mammal known as The Teaser. Instead of looking for the fish, Pitt unravels a Nazi plot and smuggling operation. He also gets his fish, but that happens so quickly when he does that it's possible to miss it.
  • Jurassic Park: Revived Dinosaurs by Technology. They are now left alone... mostly.
    • When the mangled remains of one such dinosaur are found, Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler wonder if it might be a rediscovery like the Coelacanth. This is before they learn about John Hammond's little "science project."
  • The Mockery Bird: The eponymous bird was worshiped as a god by the natives of the small tropical island Zenkali until it was hunted to extinction by the colonizers. The book's protagonists discover that a small population of these birds are still around in a valley which the colonizers intend to destroy to build a power plant for the island's airport.
  • Essentially the entire premise of Stephen Baxter's Mammoth Trilogy: Woolly mammoths have survived on a tiny island off the coast of Siberia. Then they go to Mars.
  • In Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, "The White Seal" reveals that Steller's sea cow wasn't hunted to extinction after all. Some of them have found a safe home from humans on an island.
  • The children's book Puzzle Island by Paul Adshead centers around this. It is presented as the diary of a man who has discovered a pair of living specimens of a certain animal believed to be extinct. Throughout the book, the reader must solve a series of puzzles in order to figure out what it is. It's the dodo.
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth: Many prehistoric animals are revealed to still live deep in the Earth, including mastodons, ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurus, pterosaurs, Glyptodon, Megatherium and a few others.
  • The Killing Star: The technology needed to bring back extinct animals comes about in the late 90's, after an attempt to bring back an ancient microbe from a sample of dinosaur blood inadvertently leads to a plague that kills all species of birds and a resulting ecological apocalypse. Once the birds are brought back and the ecosystem restored, the technology becomes an ordinary part of life, with miniaturized dinosaurs becoming household pets by 2070.
  • The Someday Birds: While searching for Shaw's house in a Virginia marsh, Charlie finds a stand of trees full of Carolina parakeets, which he added to his list of Someday Birds as a joke. Shaw's letter to Charlie requests that Charlie tell no one — the birds are the product of genomic research and have a foothold in one microenvironment, and Shaw worries that attention from the outside world would destroy the birds' ability to survive in the wild.
  • Crosstime Traffic: Exploited by the Crosstime Traffic employee who goes with Randolph, Cyndi, and Justin to monitor them in quarantine in a timeline where humans never evolved. They bring binoculars and a birdwatching guide, hoping to see extinct species like the Carolina parakeet and the passenger pigeon.
  • The Berenstain Bears: Benign example in the Big Chapter Book and the Showdown At Chainsaw Gap. During a field trip to the Bearsonian Institution's Hall of Birds, Teacher Bob's class gets to see the "Hall of Shame", home to exhibits on bird species that have gone extinct such as the dodo, the passenger pigeon, and the yellow popinjay. Except during the visit, thanks to Bertha Broom, it's discovered (to Professor Actual Factual's shock) that the yellow popinjay isn't extinct after all — Bertha spotted and videotaped one while in Birder's Woods the past weekend.
  • Darkwing: The novel is set some indeterminate, but relatively short, time after the K-Pg event, which wiped out most of the dinosaurs. To ensure the dinosaurs never return to dominance, all mammals have set aside their differences and formed a pact to destroy any saurian eggs they find. By the time the story begins, most characters have not seen saurians in a long time, and a Miacis named Carnassial believes he has destroyed the very last clutch. In the end, it turns out there was at least one more nest, and one of the eggs has already hatched. Carnassial and his mate are last seen in a Bolivian Army Ending with the baby dinosaur.
  • Joel Suzuki has the silvertails, a species that resembles a cross between a squirrel and a monkey. They haven't been seen for a long time, and were thought to be extinct until one of them steals the Songshell from Joel in Secret of the Songshell. Greenseed says that silvertails are seen as harbingers of good fortune.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On The 100, people on the Ark believe that Earth-based humanity was completely killed off by nuclear fallout. Turns out, there are still people on Earth, and they don't much care for the Ark people showing up.
  • The seventh season of the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer shows the Turok-Han, an ancient, very strong and very primitive race of vampires. Giles says he thought she was a myth until he saw one. It is implied that they have been hidden since the Primordium Age until the seventh season Big Bad finally freed them.
    • In the comics, Andrew clones some demonic species that had long since died out.
  • In The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance the Chamberlain believed that his own had exterminated the Gruenaks, until some sailors found two of them. Of course, by the season finale, it seems the race is actually extinct for good this time.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Curse of Peladon", the heraldic beast Aggedor is reputed to be extinct, but at least one secretly survives in the tunnels under the city.
    • The new series started with the Doctor believing the Daleks were extinct, then he runs into a survivor that doesn't last to the end of the episode, then later an entire army that is similarly wiped out, then more survivors...
    • "The End of the World": Plant Alien Jabe realizes that the Doctor is a Time Lord, and is astounded to realize that they aren't extinct.
    • The episode "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Some conservation-minded ancestors of the Silurians had cryogenically preserved some Cretaceous wildlife in hope of returning to re-stock the Earth after the K-T asteroid's destructive effects had abated, but their ship went off-course and wound up drifting for millions of years.
  • Game of Thrones has two explicit examples of creatures widely believed to be extinct at the start, namely dragons and the White Walkers. People are... less sure by the end of the first season on the second count, with the first count being deliberately proven false in the first season finale when they were revived by Blood Magic. In the second season finale, implications are proven to be completely correct on the second count, with an undead army finally seen amassing for an eventual assault on the South. Giants and the Children of the Forest are also believed to be extinct by most of Westeros. By the end of Season 6, both of them might be.
  • Grimm: Monroe and Rosalee believe that Gluhenvolk were hunted to extinction before Vincent and Jocelyn appear in Portland and are seen while woged, and it's later mentioned that there are other surviving Gluhenvolk in Alaska.
  • Prehistoric Park: While the series is about bringing extinct animals back to the present to give them a second chance, on one occasion Nigel runs into a Cave Bear when he was sure it was supposed to be extinct and comments on it (unlike other times when a series might get some exacts wrong for the sake of simplicity or efficiency, where Nigel doesn't point out an inconsistency with known science at the time).
  • Stargate SG-1's first-season episode "Thor's Hammer" has the Unas, the first species taken as hosts by the Goa'uld. Upon their first encounter with the Unas in the labyrinth, Teal'c tells it, "You do not exist." He was wrong about Goa'uld-infested Unas' ability to regenerate from massive amounts of injury, too.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine revealed that some time after the original series the Klingon Empire embarked upon 'The Great Tribble Hunt,' rendering the species extinct. Unfortunately for them the special episode commemorating the franchise's 40th anniversary resulted in the crew going back in time and bringing a tribble back with them when they returned. Given their prodigious reproductive capabilities their numbers once again rapidly exapnded.
  • Supernatural:
    • When they first appear, vampires are said to be all but extinct, but they have quite a few appearances through out the series.
    • The attack pattern of the Monster of the Week in Season 6 points to a dragon, but dragons aren't real... This might sound like Arbitrary Skepticism given what the Winchesters do for a living, but enormous flying reptiles that breathe fire are a bit harder to miss than Wendigos, vampires and so on so maybe it's justified... However, it turns out that dragons are shapeshifters, and throughout the episode only appear in their human forms.
    • The Knights of Hell were thought to be extinct until Abaddon shows up. Still, she's the Last of Her Kind, all her fellow knights were destroyed by their ex-leader Cain.
    • The Men of Letters were thought to be wiped out when Abaddon slaughtered most of the members in 1958 in Normal, Illinois. It is revealed at the end of Season 11 that the London chapter is well and active, and a lot nastier than their deceased American counterpart.

    Print Media 
  • Fortean Times has a strong interest in this aspect of cryptozoology and in fact has followed several cases where animals thought extinct appear to have returned to the world. it speculates, among other things, the British large cats people persist in seeing might possibly be a surviving native population, lingering on in small elusive numbers after being presumed extinct many hundreds of years ago.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dino Hunt: The "Relict Species" card allows a player to collect a dinosaur from a time period later than the normal range for its species. Justifed by the card's Flavor Text, which notes that the fossil record (and thus our knowledge of when each species went extinct) is incomplete.
  • Warhammer: Chameleon skinks were believed to be extinct for a very long time, as their only spawning pools were located in Pahuax, a temple-city lost to Chaos during the Great Catastrophe, and the last of their kind perished in battle not long after. They have begun to reappear during the Age of Strife, first as isolated spawnings and then in greater and greater numbers, for reasons unknown, although the Skink Priests consider this to be a sign or warning from the Old Ones.

    Video Games 
  • In all Animal Crossing, the player character can catch coelacanths. In the original and City Folk, they're surprised that they're still around.
  • Bug Fables: The roaches, the first bugs to ever gain sentience and considered the "ancestors" of the bugkind, were long thought to be extinct, with only ruins of their civilization remaining behind. However, Team Snakemouth and their allies encounter the village inhabited by roaches in the Giant's Lair at the game's final chapter, and several Lore Books imply that other roaches may exist beyond Bugaria.
  • The Dragon Age series takes its name from the fact that dragons were believed to be extinct for the last several centuries (not counting the Archdemons, who take the form of dragons). They reappeared at the start of the current age.
    • Griffons, once ridden by the Grey Wardens, were thought to have gone extinct after the Fourth Blight, but the spin-off novel Last Flight revealed that thirteen untainted griffon eggs survived and hatched in the present day.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Subverted and Averted in different senses with the series' dragons, who were rumored to be extinct for thousands of years before they began to return during the events of Skyrim. To note:
      • Subverted in that, while it was commonly believed in Tamriel that the dragons had been rendered extinct in the late 1st Era by the Akaviri Dragonguard and the Blades, many dragons still survived. Nafaalilargus was spared as a known ally of mortals and would later serve Tiber Septim as a secret weapon. Paarthurnax continued to live atop the Throat of the World, serving as the master of the Greybeards, though his case is likely excused because his existence was kept secret to all outside of the Greybeards. Others managed to survive in remote wilderness areas (such as the Forgotten Vale) or deep beneath the earth (such as in the Dwemer city of Blackreach).
      • Averted in that the vast majority of dragons were actually slain, and the ones who appear in the 4th Era are being resurrected. These dragons were dead (but not truly killed), and are now being brought back to life with the return of Alduin, the World Eater and "first born" of the dragons.
    • Skyrim also reveals that this is the case for the Snow Elves, who have degenerated into the Falmer after being displaced by the Nords and sheltered by the Dwemer, who proceeded to blind, mutate and enslave them. The Falmer themselves were thought to just be a myth for years until they began raiding the surface again, and then there are two original, non-mutated Snow Elves who you meet during the Dawnguard DLC.
  • In Firan MUX, it was largely believed that griffons, one of the favoured creatures of Zutiv, were merely mythological creatures. Then the Shamibelians invaded from griffonback. As of the start of the game, they're so common they almost replace horses as a cavalry unit.
  • Fur Fighters has a whole hidden world (which you might actually miss) found by digging down with a seriously large drill. Once down there you find a futuristic Dinosaur society where the titular characters are stars in a children's comic book.
  • Genshin Impact: In Xiangling's story quest, you can find an ancient species of boar, encased in ice, near where the Cryo Regisvine is fought in the quest's special domain, and the Traveler and Xiangling take its meat to Springvale. Draff notes that said boar might've been the last of its kind and thus its meat would be very pricey. But later on, after Dragonspine update, you can find more of those boars being encased in ice on said mountain. You can even find their King Mook version, the Great Snowboar King, which will drop a lot of Chilled Meat when you beat it and respawn once every day.
  • As with Jurassic Park above, this trope is more or less the founding premise of the Dino Crisis series.
  • In Mass Effect, the Rachni, a race of space-faring insects with a Hive Mind intelligence, are believed to have been extinct since the end of the Rachni Wars 2,000 years earlier. Then Shepard and co. encounter them on the planet Noveria. Depending on the player's actions, Shepard can either let them survive or finish the job.
    • And in Mass Effect 3, we learn it isn't even the first time they survived an attempted xenocide. The Protheans tried using them as weapons of war, but when the Rachni proved too difficult to control, the Protheans burned over 200 worlds trying to wipe them out.
  • The premise of Metroid Dread is that Samus has to investigate Planet ZDR when footage arises from there of a living, wild X Parasite (thought to be annihilated when Samus slammed the BSL station into SR388) and the seven E.M.M.I. dispatched to investigate before her go missing. There's a whole slew of them in Elun, and eventually Raven Beak unlocks Elun to let them out, leaving the planet overrun and necessitating its destruction.
  • Minecraft: The Sniffer is an 'extinct' mob which the player can revive by finding ancient eggs around the world and hatching them.
  • The dodo in Monster Sanctuary is implied to be the same species that went extinct in real life, and they survived by becoming faithful mounts to the first Monster Keepers.
  • Pokémon:
    • Relicanth (based on the most famous real-life example, the coelacanth) is said to have changed little in 100 million years, and was believed to be extinct until it was discovered during a deep-sea exploration.
    • In the Crown Tundra expansion for Pokémon Sword and Shield, all of the previous generations' fossil Pokémon can be found in the wild. Omanyte's Pokédex entry in Sword implies that this is a result of escapes from revival labs and trainers releasing them, and another NPC mentions that these "rocky" Pokémon are recent additions to the tundra.
  • In Syberia, it turns out that woolly mammoths are Not Dead Yet and living on the eponymous island of Syberia, up in the north.
  • The first three Tomb Raider games has Lara Croft encounter a Tyrannosaurus rex at one point in areas where humans have not inhabited the area for ages. Lara technically doesn't have to kill the dinosaur in order to advance (she can just dodge its attacks while gathering up key items and then leave), but in the Anniversary remake, the T-Rex is a full fledged boss fight that can't be avoided.
  • Touhou Project:
    • It's widely believed that there are no oni in Gensokyo despite otherwise being a Fantasy Kitchen Sink. And then of course they immediately meet one. In fact, it's not even mentioned until they meet her and it comes up in their conversation with her as Arbitrary Skepticism.
    • Touhou 14: Double Dealing Character introduces Kagerou Imaizumi, the werewolf based on the extinct Honshu/Japanese wolf.
  • Valkyria Chronicles: the central twist is that the Valkyria, a race believed to be extinct, still live on in the blood of two female characters in the game, and proves the possibility there could be more out there.

  • In Dominic Deegan Klo Tark, Dominic's sorcerer-psion mentor and good friend, was one of the Eld, presumed wiped out when Eldariat was destroyed by their failed attempt to harness the heart of magic. They fled to the Elemental Plane of Air instead, but return home in the final arc.
  • In Skin Deep sphinxes and dragons are believed to have wiped each other out centuries ago. Then Michelle turns out to be a sphinx, and a dragon shows up too.
  • There's always time travel for bringing an extinct dinosaur species back, like Cassie from Times Like This did.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • On Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zuko notes that Firebenders originally learned their craft from dragons, but that they were hunted to extinction in the last century — in fact, his uncle Iroh killed the last one. Naturally, he and Aang go on a quest and wind up discovering at least two still in existence, which Iroh had lied about having killed.
    • In the Sequel Series, The Legend of Korra, we discover that Appa was not actually the last Sky Bison, though he seems to have been the last of his particular subspecies.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
  • In Steven Universe, the Gems of Homeworld believe the Earth is devoid of gems after three of the Diamonds unleashed a devastation wave upon it, unaware of the Crystal Gems that survived unscratched or the Corrupted Gems created by the Diamond's attack.
  • In the 1940's Superman cartoon "The Arctic Giant," a "Tyrannosurus Rex" is thawed out of a huge chunk of ice and goes berserk.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: A dinosaur is revived by Shen Gon Wo that can convert anything (in this case, oil) to a previous form.
  • On Gargoyles, the main characters wake up from a thousand-year curse in modern New York; aside from their enemy, the immortal Demona, they seem to be the last gargoyles in existence. Eventually we discover several other gargoyle clans living around the world, with Word of God putting the species' current population at about 400.
  • In the Futurama episode "Fun on a Bun", Fry ends up in a Lost World inhabited by thought-to-be-extinct neanderthals and Ice Age mammals.
  • One episode of Captain Planet and the Planeteers features an interplanetary space zoo that has allowed many species to escape extinction, including sabretooth cats, mammoths, mastodons, wooly rhinos, giant ground sloths, great auks, elephant birds, passenger pigeons and dodos.
  • Yo-yo the dodo from Porky in Wackyland (whose Last of His Kind status is subverted in the end) and his son Gogo from Tiny Toon Adventures. Apparently, Wackyland is where all the dodos went. Though they don't look anything like dodos.
  • In The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest episode "The Bangalore Falcon", the characters find a live specimen of the supposedly extinct titular blue falcon. Later in the episode, they find the mythical kingdom of Shambala where several other extinct animals still live thanks to a river which grants eternal life, including a woolly mammoth, a red mountain tiger, and a three-horned golden orangutan.
  • The Owl House:
    • In the episode "The First Day", Hexside gets attacked by a Greater Basilisk, which according to Viney is supposed to be extinct. "Yesterday's Lie" reveals that they are extinct, but the Emperor's Coven revived some as part of an experiment to study the species' ability to eat magic.
    • The setting of the Boiling Isles is made up of the decayed skeletal remains of a gargantuan horned creature known as a Titan, a species which are largely believed to have died out centuries ago. However, in "Edge of the World", it's claimed there's at least one living Titan still remaining, much of Luz's surprise. Said Titan turns out to be King, although he's only an infant.
  • Captain Pugwash: In "Island of the Dodo", the crew of the Black Pig discover an island in the Indian Ocean where dodo birds still exist and are thriving. Captain Pugwash plans to capture them all and sell them to make a fortune. Tom, realising this really will make the dodo extinct, gets the crew Unsuspectingly Soused and tricks them into thinking the island and the dodos were All Just a Dream.
  • Adventure Time: Repeatedly, the series has raised the question whether or not Finn is the last true human on Earth (as opposed to a Half-Human Hybrid or mutated human). Gradually, a few other humans have appeared, such as a Wham Episode where we find out Ice King is actually a human named Simon Petrikov who was cursed into an insane wizard, another major story event where Finn meets his biological father, or the confirmation that Susan is actually a cybernetically augmented human named Kara, before eventually Finn discovers several human colonies across the ocean. Finn still remains the only true human on Ooo for the majority of the last seasons until the last episode, when Ice King is finally returned to a normal human and the human colonies immigrate back to Ooo.

    Real Life 
  • Theropod dinosaurs: we used to believe they were all wiped out in a mass extinction event, but there turned out to be survivors all over the place. We just called them "birds."
  • For much of the Paleozoic Era, the seas were dominated by armoured fish known as placoderms. For a long time, it was thought that placoderms were evolutionary dead-ends that died out due to being outcompeted by the ancestors of modern bony fish and sharks, but as more well-preserved fossils were discovered, it became apparent placoderms never really died out, because bony fish and sharks (and by extension, tetrapods) actually descend from placoderms.
  • Reports of possible surviving ivory-billed woodpeckers in 2005 have led conservationists to purchase some isolated areas of Arkansas woodland, in the hope that this officially-extinct species might still be hanging on there.
  • The Coelacanth was believed to have gone extinct in the Cretaceous period. Until they were found alive and well in 1938 and 1952. They're still doing fine. Unfortunately, the Coelacanth is now an Endangered Species again, due to pollution and a tendency for fishermen to kill them pointlessly and destroy the bodies instead of throw them back and risk catching them again because of their supposed horrible, garbage-oil flavor and protected status if you're caught with one without special science permits.
    • Note that the locals in the region where coelocanths live had known about them for centuries, but as bad-tasting "junk fish" of no particular importance. They're only famous because Western scientists happened to have become familiar with their fossil ancestors before realizing these fish were still around.
  • There are still occasional reports of thylacines (A.K.A. Tasmanian tigers/wolves or marsupial wolves) being sighted in the wild in Australia, many areas of which are far from being thoroughly explored or even mapped from ground level, so it's far from impossible. That said, no one has ever produced physical evidence of a thylacine existing on mainland Australia more recent than 3,000 years ago, despite huge bounties offered in the past, so don't get your hopes too high.
  • The Other Wiki has a whole list of them, both plants and animals. They are officially known as Lazarus Taxa Species thought to have re-emerged after vanishing from the fossil record, but which turn out to be unrelated to the fossils they resemble, are nicknamed "Elvis Taxa" in reference to the persistent claimed sightings of the King of Rock and Roll after his death.
  • A species of date palm known to have gone extinct in the wild ~1500 years ago has been revived when Israeli researchers planted a seed recovered by an archaeological expedition. Unfortunately, the resulting tree is a male and so can't produce seeds of its own.
  • There have been numerous attempts to resurrect recently extinct species — or, more accurately, to create new strains of animals physically resembling extinct species — through selective breeding of their close relatives.
    • German zookeepers in the 1920s made a concerted effort to re-create the aurochs, extinct ancestor of domesticated cattle, by selectively breeding contemporary cattle for aurochs-like traits. Unfortunately, while the resulting pseudo-aurochs (known as Heck cattle) looked like the real thing, they lacked the necessary survival instincts to fend for themselves, preventing them from being reintroduced to the wild as intended. They're also so ill-tempered and aggressive that farmers would be risking life and limb keeping them. More recent attempts to re-engineer the aurochs — like the Taurus project, the Tauros Programme and the Uruz Project — have come much closer to replicating the original animal's genotype, but reintroduction of the species is still pending.
    • Breeders in South Africa are similarly attempting to re-create the quagga, an extinct subspecies of plains zebra, by breeding zebras with fainter stripes than usual to recreate the quagga's distinctive horselike coat. Unfortunately it'll be much harder to replicate the Quagga's greater physical strength and docility relative to other zebras, meaning that it still won't be back in the wild for a while.
    • A similar project attempted to breed back the tarpan (A.K.A. European wild horse), from which many domestic horse breeds descend.
  • Cloning attempts to recreate extinct species haven't yet produced any live adult animals. The only specimen to date to grow to full term, a Pyrenean ibexnote , died seven minutes after birth from congenital lung defects. This gives the Pyrenean ibex the dubious honor of being the only species in history to go extinct twice.
  • The baiji, also known as the Yangtze River dolphin, was thought to have gone extinct or at least functionally extinct in 2006 after years of industrialization and pollution of the river they lived in. In 2007, a man caught on tape what appeared to be a white animal swimming in the river and nine years later, several news sources announced a sighting of what has been speculated to be a baiji. Still, the likelihood is that the species is now functionally, if not completely, extinct due to the very low probability a sustainable population of these large animals still exist in such a polluted and industrialized environment.
  • The takahē is a species of goose-sized flightless bird native to New Zealand which was originally known to science from fossils, before a living specimen was discovered (but not before being killed and eaten) a few years later (the native Maori had known about the birds for centuries of course). Then it was considered extinct again by the beginning of the 20th century, before being re-rediscovered alive again in a remote mountain valley fifty years later. Nowadays, a couple hundred of the birds still exist and their population continues to grow.
  • The bush dog is a type of small, short-legged canine native to South America which was first described from fossils discovered in caves. The scientist who uncovered these fossils later found living bush dogs, but never realized that they were the same animals as the dog fossils he had discovered (or at least, a member of the same genus); it was only many decades after his death that this was discovered.
  • The Wollemi pine is a species of coniferous tree native to eastern Australia, but, prior to the discovery of living specimens in a remote rainforest valley in 1994, the genus was believed to have gone extinct millions of years ago and last dominated the landscape during the age of dinosaurs. Genetic testing of the individual trees indicates they're genetically identical, suggesting that there was only one surviving tree at some point.
  • The Laotian rock rat was an unusual squirrel-like rodent discovered living in the remote limestone karsts of Laos in 2005, and was so unusual its describers placed it in its own family by itself. However, a subsequent study comparing the anatomy of the rock rat with fossil rodents suggested that it was actually the last-surviving representative of a preexisting group known as the diatomyids, which had, up to this point, been believed to have died out around eleven million years ago.
  • The monoplacophorans are a group of primitive limpet-like molluscs that were long known as ancient marine fossils dating from the Early Palaeozoic Era, several hundred million years ago, and were believed to have died out during the Mid Devonian, a time period which predates the evolution of the first amphibious vertebrates by millions of years. However, in 1952, living specimens were uncovered in the deep sea, making this possibly one of the most extreme examples of this trope in real life.
  • The terror skink, a very large predatory skink species native only to one tiny island off the coast of New Caledonia. It was known only from one specimen collected in 1870 and was believed extinct for over a century until more specimens were discovered in 1993. Because of the terror skink's naturally small range and population size, it's considered perpetually critically endangered.
  • The Bermuda petrel was once widespread throughout the North Atlantic, until wholesale slaughter by European sailors and their invasive farm animals rendered their breeding colonies nonexistent by the early 15th century. They were believed to have become extinct some time in the 1620s. It wasn't until more than three centuries later in 1951 a fresh petrel carcass was found, leading to the discover of thirty-six breeding adults on a remote coast. Since then, intense conservation efforts (primarily spearheaded by one man) have grown the population to several hundred.
  • The cetotheres were a family of relatively small baleen whales (and common prey for the giant mackerel shark species Otodus megalodon) thought to have gone extinct during the Early Pleistocene (about two million years ago). However, in 2012, the pygmy right whale (as the name implies, it was thought to be a relative of the right whales at the time) was found to actually be the last living representative of the cetotheres, resurrecting the group from extinction status.
  • The graptolites were a group of marine invertebrates which were extremely common and widespread for most of the Paleozoic Era, so numerous that their remains are used as index fossils. They were initially thought to have died out at the end of the Devonian Period, but were found to have survived into the Carboniferous at least. Then, a 2013 study found that the modern marine invertebrate Rhabdopleura is in fact a living graptolite, extending their temporal range by over three-hundred million years past their supposed extinction.
  • The bird louse species Columbicola extinctus was described after its sole known host, the once-common passenger pigeon, had long become extinct, and, as it was believed to have died out with its host, its species name was given to reflect this. About fifty years later, it was rediscovered alive and well living on the bodies of the passenger pigeon's closest living relative, the band-tailed pigeon.
  • A similar example is the flower species, Gasteranthus extinctus (from the same family as the African violet), which was believed to have become extinct at the time of its description because the Ecuadorian rainforest regions in which it was known were clear-cut. Some forty years later, it was discovered still holding out remote cloud forests in the Andean Mountains.

Alternative Title(s): Species Lost And Found, Lazarus Taxon