[Discussion Post] Is the Tasmanian Tiger Truly Extinct?

in #historylast year (edited)
100 percent of the distributable rewards for this post will go towards rewarding engaging and insightful comments. . .

Several weeks ago, my father (@remlaps) posted one of his daily internet curation posts from his alternate account (@remlaps-lite). In these posts, he discusses 5 interesting articles which he has found while curating the internet. This particular post discussed the last known footage of a Tasmanian Tiger taken in the 1930s. While researching the Tasmanian Tiger, I found this video discussing whether it is truly extinct. This video discusses the fact that many residents in Southern Australia believe that they have seen the Tasmanian Tiger despite the fact that Scientests have labled it extinct. There is some video footage as well. Though it is not the highest quality.

As a result, I want to experiment with a discussion post. My father has recently set up an account (@penny4thoughts) which you set as a beneficiary and it distributes the liquid rewards it gets to anyone who the author votes 100% in the comments. As a result, I am setting this post to payout 100 percent to @penny4thoughts, and I will vote for comments (which contribute to the discussion) to redistribute the rewards. In addition, my vote is worth a few cents. Please feel free to comment your thoughts, or what you find in your research.

I will comment my thoughts as well!


If nobody saw one of those in all this years its because dont exist anymore, and i think it was big new for the time, so they really check if was the last tasmanian or not... (It was 😫) Speaking bout other thing... In Argentina they saw an leopardus jacobitus or Andin cat, those animals were not seen since 2008 over there but finally 12 years later they could find one in a protected space in Villaviencio, Mendoza, Argentina. Great news for the cat, bad for the dog...

Ok. I am going to layout my thoughts here, as well as what I have found researching:

First of all, one interesting thing that I learned while reading about this species on wikipedia is that it was one of the two species of marsupials in which both genders have a pouch. The other being the opossum.

Unfortunately Extinct

My overall thought is that the Tasmanian Tiger is unfortunately extinct. I think this for two main reasons. The first of these reasons is that the Tasmanian Tiger was, at one point, on Mainland Australia. But, according to the article I found on JStor (citations at the bottom), the Tasmanian Tiger disappeared from mainland Australia likely due to the introduction of Dingos to the environment.

Responsibility for the decline and extinction of the thylacine on mainland Australia was attributed simplistically and almost entirely to introduction of the dingo (Canis familiaris dingo)(1331).

I think the fact that it first disappeared from Mainland Australia demonstrates that it was not able to adapt to the introduction of competing predators, or to any other large scale change to its environment.

In addition to this, the article states that the early Western settlers, and even later Australian government, were on a campaign to remove it from existence.

The thylacine was demonized by European explorers and settlers because of its superficial resemblance to other predators, such as the wolf (Canis lupus) in Europe and tiger in Asia (1332).

Ultimately, the death sentence for the thylacine is laid squarely at the doorstep of the Australian Parliament, which passed a bill in 1886 making it the policy of the Australian government to eliminate the thylacine from Tasmania (1332).

I think the fact that the government and settlers actively sought to eradicate it combined with its previously demonstrated inability to adapt is enough to believe that they were unfortunately successful in their endeavor, and that it is now extinct.

The video footage was not clear enough to convince me otherwise, but perhaps someone else will make a point that I have not thought of. Looking forward to reading the comments!


JStor Article

Leidy, Robert A. “Myth Meets Reality in Tasmania: The Fall and Rise of the Pouched Thing with a Dog Head.” Conservation Biology, vol. 19, no. 4, 2005, pp. 1331–1333. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3591323. Accessed 24 Mar. 2020.

Thanks for digging into this topic and also for the creative use of @penny4thoughts!

Sadly, I agree with you that the thylacine is almost certainly extinct now. Sightings are one thing, but if the species still exists, you'd figure someone would have found a carcass or two sometime in the last 80+ years.

Still, the one video clip in the youtube video that you included sure looks like one. I have never seen a fox that appears to move by hopping the way that animal does... So, I guess there's a little bit of room to entertain a nagging doubt.

I was not previously aware of the points that you raise here. Everipedia confirms that the species was already gone from mainland Australia and relegated to the island of Tasmania by the time that the British arrived in Australia, so it seems that you're right about the species' difficulty at dealing with evolutionary competition. In fact, it also mentions that factors contributing to extinction include habitat encroachment by humans and the introduction of dogs on the island of Tasmania.

The part about the government paying a bounty to kill the animals is really sad, and it reminds me of the American Bison. Like the thylacine, there were many contributiong factors, but the final blow almost came when the Buffalo was driven to the brink of extinction by the US government in order to deprive the plains Indians of their primary food source during the so-called "Indian Wars" in the 1870s.

Not looking for the upvote, but can't resist the post. A few years back I went through a book writing phase. Many of these were geared toward middle and high school students. Honestly, though, I think they just gave me an opportunity to research and write.
Tasmania was one of the subjects I touched on lightly. I remember writing about Truganini, who was believed to be the last indigenous Tasmanian (not of mixed heritage). For, as was true of the Tasmanian Tiger, the indigenous people of Tasmania were driven into extinction.
As for the Tiger, it is believed this animal was often blamed for the actions of the dingo.
I remember your father's post. I meant to comment, but have been a bit distracted by Steem disruption and COV19 anxiety. Trying to ignore that bug, but there it is, like background noise :)