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A relict is a surviving remnant of a natural phenomenon.
- In biology a relict (or relic) is an organism that at an earlier time was abundant in a large area but now occurs at only one or a few small areas.
- In ecology, an ecosystem which originally ranged over a large expanse, but is now narrowly confined, may be termed a relict.
- In geology, the term relict refers to structures or minerals from a parent rock that did not undergo metamorphosis when the surrounding rock did, or to rock that survived a destructive geologic process.
- In agronomy, a relict crop is a crop which was previously grown extensively, but is now only used in one limited region, or a small number of isolated regions.
- In history (as revealed in DNA testing), a relict population refers to an ancient people in an area who have been largely supplanted by a later group of migrants and their descendants.
- In real estate law, reliction is the gradual recession of water from its usual high-water mark so that the newly uncovered land becomes the property of the adjoining riparian property owner.
- In addition, relict was an ancient term still used in colonial (British) America and England of that era, now archaic, for a widow. It came to be a generic or collective term for widows and widowers.
- In historical linguistics, a relict is a word that is a survivor of a form or forms that are otherwise archaic.
In various places around the world, minority ethnic groups represent lineages of ancient human migrations in places now occupied by more populous ethnic groups, whose ancestors arrived later. For example, the first human groups to inhabit the Caribbean islands were hunter-gatherer tribes from South and Central America. Genetic testing of natives of Cuba show that, in late pre-Columbian times, the island was home to agriculturalists of Taino ethnicity. In addition, a relict population of the original hunter-gatherers remained in western Cuba as the Ciboney people.
- Lalueza-Fox, C.; Gilbert, M.T.P.; Martinez-Fuentes, A.J.; Calafell, F.; Bertranpetit, J. (June 2003). "Mitochondrial DNA from pre-Columbian Ciboneys from Cuba and the prehistoric colonization of the Caribbean". American Journal of Physical Anthropology (Wiley-Liss) 121 (2): 97(12). doi:10.1002/ajpa.10236. Retrieved 12 March 2011.