Posted tagged ‘Tasmanian Tiger’

“Strange Evidence” Predator Resurrection

February 10, 2019

The Strange Evidence series on the Science (SCI) channel is one of the better shows currently televised on unexplained phenomena and scientific speculation. If somewhat uneven and episodic, the shows have decent production values and offer commentary and opinions by scientists as well as observers of the topics under consideration.  It’s a mixture of the far out and things that just might be possible; I like it!

With each installment comprised of several segments, the S1/Ep10 offering included camera trap footage taken in Tasmania in 2016 of an animal unfamiliar to observers that may have been a Tasmanian tiger, a species thought to have been hunted to extinction in the 1930’s with the last specimen in captivity (above) having died in 1936. Actually a marsupial, the Tas tiger was wolf-like with stripes and a long, inflexible tail. Due to the low resolution of the film taken, experts consulted could not conclusively identify the animal present, and thought it might have been a quoll, which is a smaller carnivorous mammal common to Tasmania.

So is the Tasmanian tiger still out there?  I remain skeptical, but stranger things have happened…

The Tasmanian Tiger!

May 15, 2009

Tasmanian tiger– – The Thylacine, also called the Tasmanian Tiger, is a carnivorous marsupial presumed extinct for about 70 years. The subject of a recent MonsterQuest episode, over 350 reported sightings of the Thylacine has led some to conclude that the beast is not extinct after all!  However, photographic images of the supposed Tassie have been of poor quality, and an analysis of hair samples was inconclusive; the best evidence MonsterQuest could produce was a footprint requiring further study.

Looking like a cross between a dog and a tiger, the Tasmanian Tiger by some accounts smells terrible (like rotten  meat, some say) and has the uncanny ability to open its massive jaws to an angle of 120 degrees, an almost surrealistic trait documented in earlier film images.  Both the male and the female also have pouches, the male’s a scrotal one.  In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bounties were offered on the creature as it preyed on livestock.  Extinction came as a joint function of over-hunting, habitat erosion, and competition with other species.  The last captive thylacine, named Benjamin, was captured in 1933 and lived in the Hobart Zoo until dying in 1936.

Although MonsterQuest couldn’t produce a thylacine, science someday may, with preserved specimens yielding bits of DNA that have been replicated through a process known as Polymerase Chain Reaction.  The next big step would be to assemble an entire genetic library of the animal, which in turn would serve as a springboard towards reproductive cloning of the animal, likely through fertilizing an embryo in a near relative like the Tasmanian Devil…

…the outcome of that would make for a great Bugs Bunny cartoon!

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