There are many animals alive today which are primitive reminders of life in the distant prehistoric past.
The Facts Are .....
Mitochondrial DNA tests on the velvet worm by the CSIRO show that it is highly specialized, and should not be regarded as a primitive missing-link. New Scientist, November 21, 1992 p:14
Experimental trials have shown that the common octopus, supposedly an 'early evolutionary'
animal, can learn four times faster that common domestic animals trained by humans. These marine animals can learn even by watching a fellow octopus do an action first. This intellectual ability of learning by observation is considered to be very advanced, which some argue is almost on the verge of conceptual thought. This is an enigmatic quality for a primitive organism. Sydney Morning Herald, 25/4/92
Behavioural scientist Dr Euan MacPhaill has been able to train pigeons to duplicate activities performed by chimpanzees. Chimps are able to stack boxes on top of one another to reach bananas hung up out of their reach. Not only has he trained pigeons to do this, but he trained them to associate food with lights and levers - a feat mastered by dolphins. These experiments lay to waste the evolutionary notion that intelligence developed during evolution, so that primates were at the pinnacle of intelligence. Dr MacPhaill believes that all vertebrates are equally adept at problem solving. The Age (Melbourne), September 10, 1986
When discovered in the early 1990's, the Archaebacteria were touted as rare, extremely primitive types, which somehow survived from the time when life first evolved. Their ability to survive in hot chemical springs led some scientists to propose a theory that chemical springs produced the first life, rather that the primordial soup. Since then, it has been discovered that these microbes are not rare, and that they appear to "provide up to 30 per cent of the single-celled marine biomass" in some Antarctic waters. Genetic studies have also shown that they are not primitive at all. New Scientist, Vol. 144, 1994 p:21