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Nature & Environment

Extinction of the Tasmanian tiger has been moved up to the late 1990s

By T.K. Randall
March 23, 2023 · Comment icon 8 comments

Image Credit: Samuel Francois-Steininger / Composite Films / National Film and Sound Archive
Researchers now believe that the extinction of the thylacine occurred much more recently than the 1930s.
Officially thought to have gone extinct almost a century ago, the thylacine (or Tasmanian tiger) 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, leading many researchers to believe that reports of its demise may have been greatly exaggerated.

Now a new investigation into the disappearance of the thylacine led by researchers at the University of Tasmania has concluded that there is enough evidence to suggest that the species did not disappear entirely in the 1930s and that it likely held on until at least the late 1990s.
To reach this conclusion, the team looked at over 1,200 sightings from over the decades sourced from government outlets, newspaper archives, museums, contemporary correspondences and more.

By creating a detailed, curated database of these sightings, the researchers were able to determine that the thylacine was likely to have survived much longer than official records suggest.

The new tentative extinction date of the late 1990s reflects these findings.

The likelihood that the thylacine never went extinct at all, however, remains extremely low.

Source: Phys.org | Comments (8)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Jon the frog 1 year ago
Cannot conceive the presence of Tasmanian tiger that late, would have got roadkills registered for sure. Maybe in the 40s or 50s at the latest. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-17/roadkill-tas-app-data-details-shocking-toll-on-wildlife/100984710  
Comment icon #2 Posted by Bavarian Raven 1 year ago
Not necessarily. Only would need a dozen or do creatures to keep the pop alive for several more decades (as with most mammals, that are slower to reproduce).and if they’re not near an area with major roads … they’re not likely to be hit. Frankly if they’re numbers were in the single digits for the last two or theee decades of their existence, hitting one would be like winning a lottery. 
Comment icon #3 Posted by Jon the frog 1 year ago
A small single digit population not survive just because of genetics... mishaps just add on so fast and it's a dead end.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Bavarian Raven 1 year ago
I never said it survived. But when an animal population is in an 'extinction spiral', it can still last a surprisingly long time with only a few members before becoming extinct. Which i think they are, sadly.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Alchopwn 1 year ago
I heard a rumor about a Thylacine breeding colony set up in Wilson's Promontory back in the 1920s.
Comment icon #6 Posted by CigaretteSmokingMan 1 year ago
This theory is based on sightings, from obvious reputable sources who are clearly sane.
Comment icon #7 Posted by oldrover 1 year ago
Comment icon #8 Posted by oldrover 1 year ago
Sorry couldn't reply on the first attempt. This is a myth which has been doing the rounds for a few decades. It's based on the organisation which ran Melbourne Zoo having the word ' acclimisation' in its title. They did purchase animals which they released, and they did purchase thylacines,  but all of the latter can be traced to captivity. 


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