Tasmanian Tiger

By Anna Yeakey

Background & Extinction

The Tasmanian Tiger, otherwise known as the Thylacine is an extinct species. It's binomial name is Thylacinus cyncephalus which is Greek for dog-headed pouched one. Commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger or the Tasmanian wolf, the Thylacine was native to Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. It was believed to become extinct in the 20th century being the last extant of its family, but it became extinct in Australia long before the Europeans inhabited the area. It preferred dry eucalyptus forests, wetlands and grasslands. The first detailed scientific description of the Tasmanian Tiger was made by Tasmania's Deputy Surveyor- General George Harris in 1808. The last captive Thylacine was trapped in the Florentine Valley by Elias Churchill in 1933. It was sent to the Hobart zoo, where it lived for three years before dying. Even though the animal is extinct, sightings are still reported, but none of them have been conclusively proven. It is believed that hunting, disease, the introduction of dogs, and human encroachment on habitat are all causes of the Tasmanian Tiger's extinction.
Tasmanian Tiger/ thylacine combined footage


The Tasmanian Tiger held the title of Australia's largest predator until 3500 years ago. It was an apex predator due to the fact that it could eat prey much larger than its size. It has an abnormally large mouth that could open 5 times wider than a dogs. They were nocturnal and shy and usually avoided humans, which made it difficult to observe their behavior in the wild. The Thylacine was a marsupial, and both the male and female had pouches. The female's was to hold her babies, while the males acted as a protective sheath for his external reproductive organs. It resembled a large, short haired dog with a stiff tail much like a kangaroo. They had a yellow- brown coat with 13 to 21 stripes. There is little known about their diets, but they were ambush predators with a very acute sense of smell.


Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.