The Tasmanian Tiger!

Tasmanian tiger– – The Thylacine, also called the Tasmanian Tiger, is a carnivorous marsupial presumed extinct for about 70 years. The subject of a recent MonsterQuest episode, over 350 reported sightings of the Thylacine has led some to conclude that the beast is not extinct after all!  However, photographic images of the supposed Tassie have been of poor quality, and an analysis of hair samples was inconclusive; the best evidence MonsterQuest could produce was a footprint requiring further study.

Looking like a cross between a dog and a tiger, the Tasmanian Tiger by some accounts smells terrible (like rotten  meat, some say) and has the uncanny ability to open its massive jaws to an angle of 120 degrees, an almost surrealistic trait documented in earlier film images.  Both the male and the female also have pouches, the male’s a scrotal one.  In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bounties were offered on the creature as it preyed on livestock.  Extinction came as a joint function of over-hunting, habitat erosion, and competition with other species.  The last captive thylacine, named Benjamin, was captured in 1933 and lived in the Hobart Zoo until dying in 1936.

Although MonsterQuest couldn’t produce a thylacine, science someday may, with preserved specimens yielding bits of DNA that have been replicated through a process known as Polymerase Chain Reaction.  The next big step would be to assemble an entire genetic library of the animal, which in turn would serve as a springboard towards reproductive cloning of the animal, likely through fertilizing an embryo in a near relative like the Tasmanian Devil…

…the outcome of that would make for a great Bugs Bunny cartoon!

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3 Comments on “The Tasmanian Tiger!”

  1. Carycomic Says:

    It would probably look like a cross between Hoppy the Kangaroo and Wile E. Coyote!

  2. Carycomic Says:

    I don’t think so. The worst cartoon ever produced by Hanna-Barbera was “Kwiki Koala.”

    Imagine Winnie the Pooh with Speedy Gonzales’ moves. Talk about an “Ewwwwww” factor!


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