Re: Tassie Tiger

John Taylor (
Fri, 30 Dec 1994 21:07:21 +1100

>Ok, this has NOTHING to do with plants, but it does have something
>to do with carnivores :-)
>Anyway, they suggested that the Tasmanian tiger (I always called it the
>Tasmanian wolf) may NOT be extinct, as generally thought. They interviewed
>several people who reported sightings. Interestingly, the show also
>mentioned a similar "Marsupial tiger" from mainland Australia. This
>creature also is not documented as extant. Drawings of the Australian
>animal looked very much like the Tasmanian one, and I must wonder if these
>are closely related, if not the same animal.
>More curiously, my not-so-trusty Webster's dictionary has a picture of the
>Tasmanian wolf _Thylacinus cynocephalus_ and relates "carnivorous marsupial
>that was formerly common in Australia but is now limited to the remoter
>parts of Tasmania".

I think that the Tassie Tiger = Tassie Wolf (my Aust. Concise Oxford Dict.
lists them both as being Thylacinus cynocephalus). We tend to just call
them Thylacines. It goes on to say "wolflike nocturnal carnivorous marsupial
... last sighted in Tasmania but now *perhaps* extinct."

"Vertebrate Palaeontology of Australasia" (Ed. P Vickers-Rich, et al.) says
"The last known living individual of T.c. died in the Hobart Zoo in 1933...
On mainland Australia, the youngest remains of the species that have been
firmly dated radiometrically are 3090 +/- 90 yBP. However, thylacine remains
in the Kimberley district of Western Aust. have been less securely radiometric
-ally dated at 0 +/- 80 yBP." !!

The (possible/probable) extinction of the Thylacine was mainly due to farmers
shooting them - the Tasmanian government placed a bounty on them late last

>Perhaps some readers from down under (should I capitalize "down under"?)
>could shed some light on this?

The Aust. C.O.D. says "down under, at the antipodes, in Australia, etc." so
it appears lower case is correct.


| John Taylor [Catweasel] | Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology |
| | Department of Applied Physics |
| Melbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA