Oh dear, I've neglected this little project. Summoned back by an unlikely but elegant little word, it seems that this word's always been around, slipping in and out of the room, avoiding a direct look or even a glance -- but undeniably present, at times.
Look at that Latin etymology. "...to stand out or forth ..."
But, more to the point is, 'way down in the definition, is "Still existing; not destroyed or lost; outstanding." Ah. That's it. Not destroyed, not lost, still existing. So not just existing, but still existing. Not destroyed. And not lost.
Extant Ex"tant, a. [L. extans, -antis, or exstans, -antis, p.
pr. of extare, exstare, to stand out or forth; ex out + stare
to stand: cf. F. extant. See Stand.]
1. Standing out or above any surface; protruded.
That part of the teeth which is extant above the
A body partly immersed in a fluid and partly extant.
2. Still existing; not destroyed or lost; outstanding.
Writings that were extant at that time. --Sir M.
The extant portraits of this great man. --I. Taylor.
3. Publicly known; conspicuous. [Obs.] --B. Jonson.
-- From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48
adj : still in existence; not extinct or destroyed or lost;
"extant manuscripts"; "specimens of graphic art found
among extant barbaric folk"- Edward Clodd [ant: extinct]
-- From WordNet (r) 2.0
37 Moby Thesaurus words for "extant":
actual, alive, around, as is, being, contemporaneous, contemporary,
current, existent, existing, fresh, immanent, immediate, in being,
in effect, in existence, in force, instant, latest, living, modern,
new, on foot, present, present-age, present-day, present-time,
prevalent, running, subsistent, subsisting, that be, that is,
topical, under the sun, up-to-date, up-to-the-minute
-- From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0