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Tasmanian Tiger, Illustration

Tasmanian Tiger, Illustration

C027/5293

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Credit

BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

The thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. It is commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger (because of its striped lower back) or the Tasmanian wolf. The thylacine had become extremely rare or extinct on the Australian mainland before British settlement of the continent, but it survived on the island of Tasmania along with several other endemic species, including the Tasmanian devil. Intensive hunting encouraged by bounties is generally blamed for its extinction, but other contributing factors may have been disease, the introduction of dogs, and human encroachment into its habitat. Despite its official classification as extinct, sightings are still reported, though none has been conclusively proven. Surviving evidence suggests that it was a relatively shy, nocturnal creature with the general appearance of a medium-to-large-size dog. Taken from Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London.

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