Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The last thylacine

thylacineFrom Why Evolution Is True, a reminder of a sad anniversary:

Today is the 75th anniversary of the death of the last thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus, also known as the “Tasmanian wolf”), a marsupial that once inhabited New Guinea, Australia, and Tasmania. A captive individual on display in the zoo at Hobart, Tasmania, was the last one known; it died on September 7, 1936.

Thylacines were top predators, and a superb example of evolutionary convergence, resembling, in both behavior and appearance, the wild placental dogs to which they're only very distantly related. (Though look at the picture (and watch the video) to see how differently they carry their hind legs - they stands on their whole foot sometimes.) As marsupials, they did of course have a pouch in which they nurtured their young. A female with full pouch can be seen in one of the clips linked below.

There are only seven movie clips of living thylacines (from London and Hobart zoos), and you can find them all at this link. The longest is only 54 seconds, so you can watch them all. One is embedded below.

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