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Still Waters

Tasmanian tigers half as big as once thought

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Still Waters

The thylacine, that famous extinct Australian icon colloquially known as the Tasmanian Tiger, is revealed to have been only about half as big as once thought—not a "big" bad wolf after all.

Using advances in 3-D analysis, a recent study by Monash University's Biomedicine Discovery Institute and School of Biological Sciences, shows the thylacine, an icon of Australian biodiversity and extinction, only weighed about 17 kilograms on average. This positions it as just over half the size of the previously most commonly used estimate of 29.5 kilograms, substantially revising how we understand its biology and role in Australian ecosystems.

https://phys.org/news/2020-08-tasmanian-tigers-resizing-australian-icon.html

https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/shrinking-tasmanian-tigers-resizing-an-australian-icon

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Sir Wearer of Hats

And, importantly, changes the equations used to justify their current extinction. 

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Coyote Speaks
On 8/20/2020 at 3:25 AM, Sir Wearer of Hats said:

And, importantly, changes the equations used to justify their current extinction. 

Wouldn't this be a point in favor of continued existence rather than against it? 

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Carnoferox
1 hour ago, Coyote Speaks said:

Wouldn't this be a point in favor of continued existence rather than against it? 

There are many more factors to be considered than just mass, so it doesn't really affect the probability of its survival.

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oldrover
1 hour ago, Carnoferox said:

There are many more factors to be considered than just mass

Suddenly wandering into a spring loaded garrotte for example. 

I have no idea how to spell garrotte. 

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oldrover
2 hours ago, Coyote Speaks said:

Wouldn't this be a point in favor of continued existence rather than against it? 

I think the point was that it removes the justification as a slavering sheep murderer for the persecution. 

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Swede
3 hours ago, oldrover said:

I think the point was that it removes the justification as a slavering sheep murderer for the persecution. 

Just a brief note: 17 kg =~37.5 lbs. The weight of the coyote varies depending upon region. The average weights range from ~18-44 lbs.

.

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Sir Wearer of Hats
9 hours ago, Coyote Speaks said:

Wouldn't this be a point in favor of continued existence rather than against it? 

As far as my very lay layman’s view, it’s more of a point in favour. 

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Jon the frog
3 hours ago, Swede said:

Just a brief note: 17 kg =~37.5 lbs. The weight of the coyote varies depending upon region. The average weights range from ~18-44 lbs.

.

and coyote eat mostly mices ...

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Swede
18 minutes ago, Jon the frog said:

and coyote eat mostly mices ...

Not correct. You may be thinking of foxes. If you are willing to take the time, you will find quite a number of game-cam photos that clearly evidence the killing and transportation of O. virginianus fawns. In addition, coyotes function with the rather typical canine pack "mentality".

When one considers body mass and vulnerability, the taking of young lambs (and recovering females) can have a notable effect on marginal husbandry economics.

And the plural of mice is not "mices".

.

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psyche101

Ate they taking about Thylacinus potens? Dickson's Thylacine was always considered to be rather small. 

There were more than one species.

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Carnoferox
2 hours ago, psyche101 said:

Ate they taking about Thylacinus potens? Dickson's Thylacine was always considered to be rather small. 

There were more than one species.

No, they're talking about the recently extinct T. cynocephalus. Of course a smaller mass doesn't make them more likely to have gone unseen, since they still reached the same body lengths and heights as previously reported.

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psyche101
3 hours ago, Carnoferox said:

No, they're talking about the recently extinct T. cynocephalus. Of course a smaller mass doesn't make them more likely to have gone unseen, since they still reached the same body lengths and heights as previously reported.

 

Might be me but I didn't spot that in article. It sounded like they were referring the Thylacines as one species. Just a nitpick I suppose.

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oldrover
10 hours ago, Jon the frog said:

 mices ...

It's meece. 

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oldrover
3 hours ago, psyche101 said:

 

Might be me but I didn't spot that in article. It sounded like they were referring the Thylacines as one species. Just a nitpick I suppose.

I haven't read the article but I have read the paper, It's definitely specified in the latter that It's cynocephalus. Probably just a glitch in the journalist's grasp of the subject. Which is something that happens about once every twelve seconds. 

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oldrover
14 hours ago, Swede said:

Just a brief note: 17 kg =~37.5 lbs. The weight of the coyote varies depending upon region. The average weights range from ~18-44 lbs.

.

I don't follow sorry Swede. Can you expand a bit? 

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Carnoferox
7 hours ago, psyche101 said:

 

Might be me but I didn't spot that in article. It sounded like they were referring the Thylacines as one species. Just a nitpick I suppose.

That don't explicitly refer to T. cynocephalus, but it's clear that it's that species because they used mounted skeletons and taxidermied individuals from museum collections. They also separately discuss mass estimates for T. potens at the end.

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Coyote Speaks

I was thinking smaller body mass could be a point in favor of potential survival as it would decrease the amount of food needed to maintain healthy weight. It doesn't negate the damage done by human predation and overall concern as to space needed for them to live... just a small observation that perhaps the ecosystem could better sustain them based upon food concerns. 

I didn't realize they were more generally coyote sized, that's interesting. When discussing coyote size, though, it is necessary to consider the differences between the typical coyote and the eastern coyote - the latter of which is a hybrid of coyote, dog, and gray wolf. The hybridization considerably chances both the size and behavior of the predator and still isn't as well studied as one might hope.

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Swede
8 hours ago, oldrover said:

I don't follow sorry Swede. Can you expand a bit? 

Merely pointing out that even with the reduced mass estimates, the thylacine would still have been capable of at least some degree of sheep predation.

.

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Swede
3 hours ago, Coyote Speaks said:

I was thinking smaller body mass could be a point in favor of potential survival as it would decrease the amount of food needed to maintain healthy weight. It doesn't negate the damage done by human predation and overall concern as to space needed for them to live... just a small observation that perhaps the ecosystem could better sustain them based upon food concerns. 

I didn't realize they were more generally coyote sized, that's interesting. When discussing coyote size, though, it is necessary to consider the differences between the typical coyote and the eastern coyote - the latter of which is a hybrid of coyote, dog, and gray wolf. The hybridization considerably chances both the size and behavior of the predator and still isn't as well studied as one might hope.

Yes. Eastern variants can reach up into the 60 lb range.

While the hybridization aspect does deserve further research, the topic is not new. Personally produced a paper on Canis latrans var. in the early 1970s.

.

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oldrover
1 hour ago, Swede said:

Merely pointing out that even with the reduced mass estimates, the thylacine would still have been capable of at least some degree of sheep predation.

.

I see, thanks. I wouldn't argue with that for a second. 

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Coyote Speaks
2 hours ago, Swede said:

Yes. Eastern variants can reach up into the 60 lb range.

While the hybridization aspect does deserve further research, the topic is not new. Personally produced a paper on Canis latrans var. in the early 1970s.

.

It's a relatively new topic outside of more specialized circles from what I can tell. I'd love to read some papers on it, and in general see more writing and attention paid to it. I did talk to a biologist a while ago who was studying coat variations in coyotes killed in southern Pennsylvania during hunting season. One of them was this utterly massive blond male. The coat even had the same kind of feathering you see in golden retrievers. Looked like someone had just stretched a golden retriever pelt over a coyote body. Wild stuff.

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openozy
On 8/25/2020 at 3:27 AM, oldrover said:

I think the point was that it removes the justification as a slavering sheep murderer for the persecution. 

Not really,I've seen 7kg hunting terriers pull down and kill sheep,sheep are weak and defenceless when attacked.I live in a sheep district and the farmers will shoot a chihuahua walking around their stock,the tigers had no chance.

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openozy
Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, Swede said:

Not correct. You may be thinking of foxes. If you are willing to take the time, you will find quite a number of game-cam photos that clearly evidence the killing and transportation of O. virginianus fawns. In addition, coyotes function with the rather typical canine pack "mentality".

When one considers body mass and vulnerability, the taking of young lambs (and recovering females) can have a notable effect on marginal husbandry economics.

And the plural of mice is not "mices".

.

There are also cases of coyote attacking adult humans in a predatory manner and even killing people.If the Thylacine had the dense musculature of a roo and I believe they did,they would have been a powerful predator for their size,whatever their jaw power.

Edited by openozy
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oldrover
17 hours ago, openozy said:

Not really,I've seen 7kg hunting terriers pull down and kill sheep,sheep are weak and defenceless when attacked.I live in a sheep district and the farmers will shoot a chihuahua walking around their stock,the tigers had no chance.

I live in sheep country too and I definitely recognise all the points except the weak part. Ours aren't, but then the ones I've seen in Tasmania aren't the same as what we have here, they looked smaller. But ultimately I honestly don't know. 

The point up at the top about the justification is about why they were persecuted in the mid 1800-early1900s. And that is a slightly different matter. That wasn't what you and I would recognise as the chihuahua shooting urge but something else. At this stage, and It's very early days, I'd say what we're looking at is embezzlement of the state's treasury by the east coast stock owners. But That's me rambling for ages. 

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