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Thylacinus cynocephalus: dog-headed pouched-wolf

A Thylacine is a Marsupial...

The Thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) is a large carnivorous marsupial.  It is the only member of the family Thylacinidae known to survive into modern times. It is also known as the Tasmanian Tiger or Australian Marsupial Wolf. 

Mother Thylacine with Joeys

A Thylacine can hop...

Like Kangaroos, Thylacine sometimes hop around on two legs. Many sightings often describe the animals ( Thylacines )  locomotion as " It took 2 or 3 hops before breaking into an awkward loping motion that made the animal appear injured or lame." 

Marsupiual Thylacine hopping position

A Female Thylacine has a backward facing Pouch.....

The pouch of the female Thylacine is rear facing. The female has up to 4 young at a time. The rear facing pouch helps protect the young as the animal  runs through woodlands in search of prey. Once the young are too big, the mother will create a nest in a lair for the joeys to reside in whilst she hunts with the male. The male also has a small pouch in which the testes retreat into when he is running.

Mother Thylacine with Joeys in captivity

Photo Copyright Mullins collection.

A Numbat is not a Thylacine...

Numbats are the closet living relative of the Thylacine

The Thylacine's  closest living relative , the Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciattus ), was once widespread on mainland Australia but it is now limited to SW Western Australia in the wild.  In April 2017, Neil Waters found a scat in NE Tasmania that was from a carnivore and quite large,( 30mm x 150mm) . Results from DNA sampling from the scat indicated traces of  Numbat DNA. Numbats and Thylacine share the same DNA thread until around 94% and then one branches off and becomes a Thylacine. Though the test didn't provide enough mitochondrial DNA to build a full Thylacine gene sequence, it did however raise more questions than answers as there was no Quoll or Devil DNA present in the sample.......

Thylacine scat evidence foudn by Neil Waters in NE Tasmania 2019
Photo Copyright Neil Waters 2017

Extinction is not always forever...

The Thylacine was declared extinct on September 7th , 1986, 50 years after the last confirmed captive specimen died in Beaumaris Zoo in 1936.  ARFRA, ( Australian Rare Fauna Research Association).  has collated over 5000 mainland sightings and 2000 Tasmanian  sightings of Thylacines since 1936.  Is it still out there? Many would say yes....

Thylacine Sighting Reports Victoria Australia

Photo courtesy of ARFRA representing more than 1000 Thylacine sightings in Victoria.

Thylacines are known from fossil records to have had a wide distribution right across mainland Australia. In the 1960's the Nullabor Plain produced two very fresh looking deceased Thylacines from two separate caves. Both animals were carbon dated to have been between 95 and 3250 years old approximately. Despite the presence of maggot casings and organs complete with an eye ball and other fresh features about them, they were found to be well mummified specimens but not recently deceased. Athol Douglas argued that the result was flawed by the presence of limestone in the caves and that the animal was only weeks or months old at best.

Thylacine carcass found in a Cave, Nullabor Plains 1960

Photo Copyright Tarnee Rutherford 2017.

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