Humanity’s propensity for destruction and annihilation including cross species depletion continues unabated. But what of the Thylacinus Cynocephalus commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger? Is there a possibility it may have survived? Recent events have provided a surprising glimmer of hope.
There have been many supposed sightings but few of these credible until a local trio went public in September 2017.
Strangely, this coincided with the publishing of an article on the complete DNA mapping of the thylacine in Nature scientific journal December 2017. Check out: www.nature.com/articles/s41559-017-0417-y
What do we make of this? Put simply, don’t get your hopes up (and remember to keep buying those lotto tickets). On the flip side however, there is a twenty percent chance the sighting is real (but most probably a spotted quoll says local wildlife expert Nick Mooney) and that it may be possible to ‘resurrect’ the animal in ten years given current genome mapping and scientific developments.
Greg Booth (of the trio) stumbled upon the evasive creature on Good Friday, 2015 and couldn’t belief his eyes when it looked at him from eight feet away with its pointed ears, dark eyes and very long snout. He held off from going public until he had proof. He is convinced. With the release of video footage to the Australian Broadcasting Commission he, Joe Booth and Adrian Richardson believe they have a case. But based on the movement, anatomy, behaviour etc Nick Mooney told the ABC there is a one-in-five chance that it’s a Tasmanian tiger.
Meanwhile, a team of scientists at the University of Melbourne made a successful attempt at sequencing the Thylacine genome from a century old preserved pup in a jar of alcohol. It is one of the most complete sets of DNA of an extinct animal (see link above) and ‘is remarkable given that DNA has a habit of falling apart’ says article co-author Dr Andrew Pask. The specimen submersion in ethanol inhibited DNA degradation and enabled sequencing of the Thylacine genome.
With a dog like head and shoulders and a dramatic striped back and extended tail it was in fact a marsupial with a pouch for rearing its young. The elbow joint reveals a predator suited to ambush of the pounce – pursuit variety with a jaw bite force stronger than a dingo (nice).
The last Thylacine died in Hobart Zoo in 1936 and it is added to humans’ extended list of extinct species aided by a government bounty scheme that lasted for seventy odd years.