The Tasmanian Tiger - extinct or not?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The last known living Thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger, died in 1936 in an Australian zoo in Hobart. although it looks like a dog with an alarming large mouth full of teeth, it is actually a marsupial. It range was Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania, although by the time Europeans first encountered them they were largely confined to Tasmania.

It is thought that they were hunted to extinction. However, there are still reports of people sighting them. Several expeditions have tried to verify the sightings, but have been inconclusive. The above video starts with a brief color film of one of these later sightings of what might be a Tasmanian Tiger. The 7 black and white snippets that follow it are the only known films of the animal.

There have been attempts to extract DNA sample from museum specimens to clone a living version of a Thylacine, but so far they haven't had luck getting a good enough DNA sample for the attempt. Perhaps they'll get lucky a find a good DNA sample or, even better, maybe the animal still lives in the wild.