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Creatures, Myths & Legends

Thylacines survived until the 90s, study claims

By T.K. Randall
January 31, 2021 · Comment icon 14 comments



Is the thylacine really extinct ? Image Credit: Benjamin A. Sheppard
A new study has suggested that the Tasmanian tiger may have survived all the way up until relatively recently.
One of the best known recent examples of a species wiped out by human hunting practices, the thylacine was a distinctive carnivorous marsupial native to Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea.

Sporadic reports of alleged thylacines in the wild however have continued even to the present day.

But could the species still be out there or is their survival almost 100 years after their official extinction all the way back in the 1930s little more than wishful thinking at this point ?

According to a recently published study, the Tasmanian tiger probably didn't die out in the first half of the 20th Century as is commonly believed, but instead managed to hold on against all odds until the 1990s or possibly even until the early 2000s before finally succumbing to extinction.

The findings contradict the official picture and suggest that thylacines were roaming around relatively recently at a time when it was generally believed that they were long gone.
The study involved a three-year analysis of more than 1,200 sightings of Tasmanian tigers and concluded that there is still a slim chance that the species could still be out there today.

"Like the Dodo and Passenger Pigeon before it, the thylacine has become an iconic symbol of human-caused extinction," the study authors wrote.

"Even today, reports of the thylacine's possible ongoing survival in remote regions of Tasmania are newsworthy and continue to capture the public's imagination, with much debate over whether the extinction event has yet occurred and if so, when?"

"We show, using a unique and robust spatio-temporal mapping and modelling approach, underpinned by the world's first sightings database (from 1910-present day), that the thylacine likely persisted until the late 20th century, with some possibility of ongoing survival."

Source: biorxiv.org | Comments (14)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Tom1200 2 years ago
Based on a greater number of eye witnesses, and with the same absence of any actual evidence, Bigfoot is alive and thriving.† And UFOs†abduct†and probe†four million Americans every year. Or am I placing too much faith in mathematical modelling?
Comment icon #6 Posted by Eldorado 2 years ago
Tasmanian Tigers Could Still Have Been Alive in the 2000s, Scientists Argue Of all the animals to have gone extinct since humans were around to notice, perhaps none loom as large in our collective consciousness as the thylacine, commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger. Unlike the dodo or the woolly mammoth, the thylacine is still lit, however dimly, in living memory. In fact, since the last known member of the species died in a zoo in 1936, supposed sightings of the creature have continued to be reported at a steady clip, including one just last week. Full Gizmodo article: Link
Comment icon #7 Posted by Nobu 2 years ago
What†was the human population density of humans in their known habitat in the 20-30s? If you donít know off the top of your head- donít worry about looking it up. Iím just curious. I guess I donít know how sparsely populated that area of Australia was or now is.
Comment icon #8 Posted by oldrover 2 years ago
During that the early 1920s they were found in the South-West, North-West, and some very limited suggestion†for them in the middle around Lake Gordon. I don't think they weren't there but the evidence is a bit vague. After 1923 there's no more firm evidence in the S-W, N-W ends in 1930. Population wise,I don't think we can say but certainly in the times mentioned the population of both areas would have been significantly higher than today, largely because of first timber then mining.†In the S-W you had an entire township called Adamsfield that isn't there anymore, plus the settlements of Tyenn... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by Nobu 2 years ago
Thanks. This is a subject that interests me greatly.
Comment icon #10 Posted by oldrover 2 years ago
No problem. We've a book coming out next year and I'm writing this topic up at the moment.†
Comment icon #11 Posted by Nobu 2 years ago
You post the link Iíll buy it.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Coyote Speaks 2 years ago
Can't wait to buy it and read it. Your research and writing has always been a true joy to read.
Comment icon #13 Posted by oldrover 2 years ago
Oh thank you very much. I'll let you know.†
Comment icon #14 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 2 years ago
I have no problem imagining that this creature,†thylacine, still exists. Check this out: "A rare species of bee, last seen a hundred years ago, has been found alive in Queensland, Australia. The species,† Pharohylaeus lactiferus, is native to the area, but was last recorded in 1923 and only six had ever been found." Also, in 2020, three new species of shark were found off the coast of New Zealand. They all glow in the dark, too. Also, several†people in the UK have reported seeing the black panther, long thought of as being extinct. I think people just can't swallow our†pride and understand tha... [More]


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