Since the first arrival of humans to the shores of Australia, rumours have existed concerning a greatly-feared, extremely dangerous animal that the modern aboriginie tribes call the Yarri.
Many Aboriginal tribes have legends of the predatory animal, and many consider it to be thriving secretly today, lost in the shadows.
Sightings of the Yarri appear almost exclusively from Queensland, earning it the name 'The Queensland Tiger." Take, for example, this sighting from 1920, recorded by Munna Creek.
"A large animal of the cat tribe standing about 20 yards [18 metres] away, astride of a very dead calf, glaring defiance at us and emitting what I can only describe as a growling whine ... he was nearly the size of a mastiff, of a dirty fawn colour, with a whitish belly and broad blackish tiger stripes. The head was round with promenient lynx-like ears, but unlike that feline there were a tail reaching to the ground and large pads."
Afterwards the creature ran off and threatened the men from far away, before disapearing from sight totally.
This is a remarkably accurate description of Thylacoleo carnifex, the marsupial lion, extinct for ten thousand years at the least.
Its strong forelimbs, retracting claws and incredibly powerful jaws mean that it may have been possible for Thylacoleo to climb trees and perhaps to carry carcasses to keep the kill for itself (similar to the leopard today). Due to its unique predatory morphology, scientists repeatedly claim Thylacoleo to be the most specialized mammalian carnivore of all time.
Thylacoleo was 71 cm (28 in) at the shoulder and about 114 cm (45 in) long from head to tail. The T. carnifex species is the largest, and skulls indicate they averaged 101 kg (223 lb) to 130 kg (287 lb), and individuals reaching 124 kg (273 lb) to 160 kg (353 lb) were common.
The similarities between modern sightings and the prehistoric animal are simply too much to ignore. The yarri is a tree climber, like the Thylacoleo and has a black stripes, a useful adaptation for any tree climber looking for some camoflauge. Both are the sam size, shape and have the same bizaare tusk-like teeth.
Far over two hundred accounts of Yarri sightings have been recorded since 1800, all sharing the remarkable similarities to Thylacoleo.
Fustratingly, many farmers during the 1800's and early 1900's found Yarris to be a miserable pest, and killed many that got onto their property. As the animal was alledgedly very common to anyone who knew the bush well back then, not a single carcasse was preserved as it was assumed that it was a well-known scientific species. Sadly the Yarri has become very rare now, partially due to hunting and the pest control methods used by farmers, but largely due to the amount of natural land being cleared daily in Australia.
Apart from sightings there is a small bank of evidence for the Yarri, including two photographs, footprints, and a video.
The first photograph was taken in 1975 by two beachcombers (One account claims it occured in 1990, so these may be two seperate events, but as the latter failed to produce the actual photo in question I cannot properly determine that.).
They were searching the dunes by the Margaret River in south-west Oz when they cam across the corpse of an animal they had never seen before. They choose not to try and take it but instead took a photograph of the animal. It has since earned the name 'Jaws' dues to it's incredible, Thylacoleo-like teeth.
No one at the Austrlain Museum or the Queensland Museum was able to identify the animal in the photograph as either a living or dead species. It remains a ture mystery.
The second photograph is part of a terrifying ordeal that four RAAF personnel were put through in 2005.
The official Royal Australian Air Force newspaper contained an article which describes an encounter between "four trained Air Force members and [their] tracking dog" and a "creature" that "stood about waist high on all fours, had a small head, was spotted and moved like a cat".
The same article says the military personnel were at the base for "exercises Northern Awakening and Kakadu". The Australian Government Department of Defence website gives from 26 July until 12 August 2005 as the timeframe for Excercise Kakadu.
The first sighting
"Leading Aircraftmen Mathew Cash, Cy Holland and Chris Hey ... accompanied by a dog and its handler had been sent out [as part of the excercise] to intercept a Mauveland special forces team that had launched a raid on the base and was withdrawing along a creek line near their position.
"[The group] moved from the creek line to the other side of the quarry, planning to intercept the enemy group as they entered the clearing.
"Leading Aircraftman Cash explained what happened next.
"'We came across the quarry and pulled up, looked around and this creature was sniffing on the ground, following exactly where we‚��d come through,' he said.
"'It pulled up on a mound [about 50m away] and just sat there.
"'We had our night weapon sight and our [night vision] on, watching it, and [the creature] was just sitting there sniffing and watching us.'
"... 'The two front legs were bigger than the two back legs, [with] big shoulder blades,' he said. 'I would have said it was a hyena, but obviously we don‚��t have hyenas here.'
Even the trained tracking and attack dog seemed put off by the sight of the unusual creature; it quietly crept to the back of the group and stayed out of sight.
"[Said Leading Aircraftman Hey], 'It wasn‚��t a pig and it was no dog. Even the dog handler said it wasn‚��t a dog; it didn‚��t move like
"'It was weird looking and it was something that weird all never seen before."
The sighting just described occurred on a full moon. Following the sighting some patrol members scanned the quarry for evidence of the animal and located the unusual paw print.
The second sighting
"Two nights later, the next time the Air Force dog was with the patrol, the creature appeared again at about 5am
and lingered within 10m of the observation post. Again, the ADGs could not identify it."
This horrifying event is easy to write off as fake, but the number of witnesses, the evidence left by the creature, and it's similarities to a Yarri make it at least slightly credible. The photo checks out, it is unlikely to have been modified to produce that effect and the footprint matches that of Thylacoleo.
Sadly the article was sensationalised by the media who calle dit a werewolf, meaning few zoologists took the genuine account seriously.
A video exists of what is purpotedly a Yarri.
Link to Article.
The author claims it is a Thylacine, or a Tasmanian Tiger, but it's overall shape is more similar to a Thylacoleo in my opinion.
It would truly be a great day when it is proven that these beasts still roam the Australain rainforests, lost in the shadows.