Impurest's Guide to Animals #180 - Thylacine

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ImpurestCheese

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Edited By ImpurestCheese

Last week it was too hot, now it’s too wet what with six months of rainfall falling on the UK in just twenty four hours. Cooler temperatures are good for last week’s creature, the Leatherback Turtle that plays by its own physiological rules. This week we have a tiger striped issue requested by @jaycool2. Hope you guys enjoy!!

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Issue #180 - Thylacine

[1]
[1]

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Chordata

Class – Mammalia

Order – Dasyuromorphia

Family - Thylacinidae

Genus – Thylacinus

Species – cynochepalus

Related Species - The Thylacine was the last surviving member of the family Thylacinidae. Its closest surviving relative is the insectivorous Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) (1)

Range - Thylacines ranged across most of Tasmania, and at one time were found across Eastern Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Gone but Note Forgotten

The Thylacine was the largest of the modern carnivorous marsupials, with a body length of up to 130cm and an average weight of 20kg, with male individuals generally being a bit larger than females. Due to its dog like appearance, and the black stripes on its dun back, this species received the names ‘Tasmanian Wolf’ and ‘Tasmanian Tiger’ from the first European settlers who saw them. Unlike wolves and big cats, the Thylacine had an awkward gait, and instead of running after prey it performed a strange hopping motion akin to that of a kangaroo.

[2]
[2]

Thylacines were carnivores that specialised in hunting small games from ambush, with bandicoots and possums probably making up most of their diet (2). Prey was dispatched with a bite to the neck, and the Thylacine possessed a very wide gait, reported to be able to open its mouth up to an 80° angle. Native predators were likely non-existent, but the species competed with food with Dingoes (Canis lupus dingo) and later when Europeans arrives, the Red Fox (Vulpus vulpus), and was targeted by humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) who saw the species as a pest and a dangerous threat to sheep (Ovis aries) farms, and were offered bounties of £1 (equivalent to £100 in modern times) per head by the government. It was likely a combination of all these factors that led to the species extinction in the wild in 1930.

[3]
[3]

There is some evidence that Thyacines bred all year round, but little is known regarding courtship or gestation period. Mothers generally gave birth to four joeys that stayed in the pouch for three months before emerging into a lair, where they would stay until they were old enough to fend for themselves. Interestingly, the male Thylacine had a pouch too, to protect his genitals while moving through the brush, and is one of only two marsupials where both genders to possess pouches, the other being the relatively unrelated Yapok or Water Opossum (Chrionectes minimus) from South America (3).

Five (we failed) to Save #17 - Extinct Species

Life is constantly at war, with each species struggling to survive from generation to generation. This constant struggle is made harder by the spread of humanity and our species need to control environments for our own purposes. While this trait isn’t necessary evil, and in fact helped our ancestors survive and thrive in the distant past, nowadays it often pushes those species we don’t have a need for, or find undesirable aside, often to near endangerment or extinction. The species covered below are all recent additions, after the introduction of nature conservation in 1820 by Sir James Ranald Martin (4), to the list of species driven to extinction.

American Chestnut Moth (Ectoedemia castaneae) Status: Declared Extinct in 2006

Cause of Extinction: Disease - While humanity can be blamed for many extinctions, it only has an indirect role in the demise of the American Chestnut Moth. This species fed almost exclusively on American Chestnuts (Castanea dentata), a species that itself was suffering from a fungal parasite known as Chestnut Blight (Cryphonectria parasitica) for over a century. The blight itself was native to Italy, and managed to reach the continental US in the early 1900s by stowing away on timber imports from Europe.

Guadalupe Caracara (Caracara lutosa) Status: Declared Extinct in 1903

Cause of Extinction: Persecution - Described as evil and vicious by early observers, this once common bird was hunted due to the fear that it would mercilessly kill livestock, with the population going from plentiful in 1867 to eleven individuals in 1897. While most of the other species mentioned became extinct by accident or mismanagement, humanity went out of its way to make the Guadalupe Caracara extinct. In a rare case of co-extinction the parasitic louse Actuiforns caracarensis which only fed on this species, was also declared extinct alongside its host.

[4]
[4]

Japanese Sealion (Zalophus japonicus) Status: Declared Extinct in 1974

Cause of Extinction: Overhunting - Harvested for meat, fur and blubber (for use in lamps), it is estimated that before hunting was banned in 1940, that trawlers had harvested over 16,000 animals since the beginning of the century. Destruction of habitat due to submarine and surface warfare during the Second World War further threatened the species, with the last indidivual accidently killed in a fishing net in the early 1970s.

Mexican Dace (Evarra bustamantei) Status: Declared Extinct in 1983

Cause of Extinction: Habitat Destruction - Possibly one of the first victims of global warming, the Mexican Dace coincided with the drying of the water bodies it inhabited. The cause of this drying was twofold; dry conditions had reduced water level, and forced human populations to use what little water was left for drinking and for agricultural purposes.

[5]
[5]

Round Island Burrowing Boa (Bolyeria multocarinata) Status: Declared Extinct in 1975

Cause of Extinction: Soil Erosion - A meter long burrowing constrictor, the Round Island Boa is one of the many species that became extinct due to mismanagement of its environment. Overgrazing of land by goats (Capra aegargus) and rabbits (Orcyctolagus cuniculus) led to the loss of nesting areas for the snake as what remained of the soil the species burrowed through blew away.

Bibliography

1 -www.arkive.org

2 - https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110831210058.htm

3 -Dixon, Joan. "Fauna of Australia chap.20 vol.1b" Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS). 8 January 2009

4 - Stebbing, E.P (1922)The forests of India vol. 1, pp. 72-81

Picture References

1 - http://nnimgt-a.akamaihd.net/transform/v1/crop/frm/M9js8ZNF8WfwDLANPpFpug/9e1f3505-025f-436f-8822-183996480428.jpg/r0_262_3189_2055_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg

2 - https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-B_3qRtPPYUs/URE7i8KbqhI/AAAAAAAAPU8/R1o_ouI2yAY/s400/thylacine_01.jpg

3 - http://d3lp4xedbqa8a5.cloudfront.net/s3/digital-cougar-assets/AusGeo/2013/09/11/7688/thylacine-tasmanian-tiger-2.jpg

4 - http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uizNbp_FqBA/U78NRfiHwpI/AAAAAAAANTk/ilSc913a2dY/s1600/caracara-guadalupe-ejemplar-conservado.jpg

5 - https://www.enkivillage.org/s/upload/images/2014/12/90a8513441bc37e1f8bc0d23ea957347.jpg

I’m not going to lie, I spent most of the time writing this issue fighting back the tears. Over the next two weeks we have requests from @ficopedia and @ig-88 which should be far happier. Until then though make sure to critic, comment and suggest future issues as well as making sure you check out past issues in Impurest’s Bestiary.

Many Thanks

Impurest Cheese

Want more IGTA? For an animal that returned from extinction, click here to see the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect. Or to see Australia’s ‘native cat’ click here to see the boisterous Tiger Quoll.

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deactivated-5ebcd5ad9fb95

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Cool.

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ImpurestCheese

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WollfMyth209

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Nice. :)

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pipxeroth

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Poor guy. I mean we're not exactly lacking in unique animals here, but still.

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ImpurestCheese

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@wollfmyth209: Thanks for the comment

@pipxeroth: It is shameful, especially when you consider that the species has been extinct for less than a century.

Loading Video...

We even have video footage of it...

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ImpurestCheese

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deactivated-5b2dd32201ad6

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Nice! It's always good to see you doing mammals.

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Invain

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#10  Edited By Invain

The Thylacine looks like a cute lil thing, but I don't think that I have heard about it before today. I think that I've heard about the Guadalupe Caracara. The story sounds familiar to me, anyway, but mankind hunting a species to extinction isn't uncommon. This was a interesting read.

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gunmetalgrey

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Ah, the good ol' Tasmanian Tiger.

Neat how it seems to act somewhat like a dog, but curves its back/spine a lot kinda like a cat. I wish there was some footage of its hopping gait in that video, but I guess there wasn't enough space in those holding pens for it to really get moving.

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HeroUp2112

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Convenient how it had that pouch to protect its privates. Good entry.

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ImpurestCheese

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@ig-88: Even though I prefer reptiles and amphibians...

@invain: You may know it as the Tasmanian Wolf or Tasmanian Tiger. Thanks for the comment

@gunmetalgrey: Yeah its sad indeed that our only footage is of the last Thylacine cramped up in a tiny cage,

@heroup2112: Anyone who has ever walked through scrubland and savannah in shorts will know that this is a good idea

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CaptainMarvel4Ever

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Oh cool, I remember seeing this video featuring one. It was interesting to watch old footage of a creature no longer on earth as we know it. Sad, such interesting looking creatures. Very cute too

Also appreciate the bonus animals featured

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ImpurestCheese

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@captainmarvel4ever: Yeah they are cute and it was quite upsetting to go further into the annuals of the departed. So many species slipped past that nobody would ever care about. I mean sure people would cry over the extinction of the Giant Panda, but no one shed a tear for the extinction of the St Helena Earwig after it was hunted into extinction by introduced rats and giant centipedes

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CaptainMarvel4Ever

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@impurestcheese: Yeah, sad that keeping certain animals alive is a game of cuteness. Frankly though, I won't cry if we lose the Panda. I'm pretty sure God is actively sending us a message that it's suppose to be dead and to get over it (plus the one time I saw one at the zoo, all it did was scratch it's dirty... body parts, in front of me). Shame about that earwig though, think I'll look into that when I get home later, sounds interesting.

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black_wreath

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#17  Edited By black_wreath

Great read just... super depressing. :(

What is your opinion of the supposed Thylacine sightings?

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MajinBlackheart

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#18  Edited By MajinBlackheart  Moderator

I always loved these growing up. All extinction is sad but this one is the hardest for me. You have to really be trying hard to kill something off that could possibly breed year round. Is there any info on conservation efforts or captive breeding? (By conservation efforts, that usually just means keeping them alive and increasing the population for zoos in this time period).

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ImpurestCheese

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@captainmarvel4ever: Yeah a lot of St Helena's Biodiversity became extinct due to human colonisation. Not a fan of Giant Panda's either.

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#20  Edited By ImpurestCheese

@black_wreath: I did cry a few times when watching the footage posted above. I'm sceptical about Thylacine survival, it is possible but not probable. While some animals I have covered have returned from extinction, I doubt the Thylacine will be joining that list.

@jloneblackheart: There is, a single litter of Thylacines were bred in Melbourne Zoo, but other then that they were no captive born animals. Legislation was brought in to protect Thylacines in 1936 about sixty days before the last known individual known as Benjamin died in captivity after being exposed to a freak heatwave followed by a blizzard in Hobart Zoo.

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mrmonster

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Shame that thanks to us, such a cool animal died off.

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ImpurestCheese

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@mrmonster: These species are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creatures we pushed to extinction

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#23  Edited By mrmonster

@impurestcheese: True. Passenger pigeons, Pyrenean ibex, the West African Black Rhino...and if things don't change, we'll have to add so many more species to that list; tigers, elephants, white rhinos, polar bears, etc.

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ImpurestCheese

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@mrmonster: The Pyrenean Ibex actually came back from extinction for a few hours due to genetic engineering and the 'Frozen Zoo' project. While I hope we don't have to rely on it to much, it is somewhat heartwarming that we've started to put safeguards in to reverse extinction.

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#25  Edited By amazing_webhead

The poor thing...

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deactivated-614ce5c370323

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YASSS!!! Thanks Impurest!

I'm gonna check out its closest living relative(insectivorous Numbat), do you know anything about it?

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Green_Tea

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this post really made me think lol. At what point do we stop and think if our desires cause more problems for nature and her pets. We've expanded our territory beyond the horizon and sort of conquered most land and sea...damn.

great thread ?

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ImpurestCheese

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@amazing_webhead: Tis sad indeed

@jaycool2: No problem, Numbats are the only marsupials without pouches

@solid_snake97: It really does open your eyes to humanities destructive tendencies

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My first thought was this poor animal looks like it's wearing a gas mask. It chills me to the bone, seeing imagery of creatures that are gone forever. We really do suck, as a species.

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ImpurestCheese

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@ms-lola: I wouldn’t give up on the human race just yet, yes we suck, but there are many people who put their heart and soul into helping others, conservation etc.

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Anna_Karenina

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Nice post as always, Impurest. Although it might be a bit sad by the end, lol.
Btw, it's really interesting to notice how some Metatherian mammals "found" similar solutions to deal with environmental challenges when you compare them to certain Eutherians. Convergence is pure gold, isn't it?

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QuinnoftheStoneAge

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Wow, such a shame :(

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sineyaprime

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@impurestcheese: Great post, even if it made me a bit sad. My first thought was that it looked like some half hyena/ half armadillo creature. Shame it's gone. :/

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Ostyo

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Weak animals, all of them!

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ImpurestCheese

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@anna_karenina: Yeah, I love convergent evolution because it confirms my theory that mother nature reuses her designs whenever possible

@quinnofthestoneage: It is, it's odd to think we'd miss something that none of us were alive to see, but I guess that's one of the good things about humanity, that we can look back at history and try and prevent it from occurring again

@sineyaprime: Early Europeans thought it could crush bones like a hyena so your not too far off the original thinking.

@ostyo: Yeah because they were pushed towards a cliff edge.

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FicOPedia

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Rereading.

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@ms-lola: I wouldn’t give up on the human race just yet, yes we suck, but there are many people who put their heart and soul into helping others, conservation etc.

Like you. <3

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deactivated-5ebcd5ad9fb95

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I can't believe that this will be the last one of these. I am getting sad right now.

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Khael

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I'm crying :'(

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mrmonster

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I can't believe that this will be the last one of these. I am getting sad right now.

Yeah, I know, right. I don't think I'll ever unbookmark this.

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Rockette

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I remember she made one not too long ago for me about that giant centipede.

R.I.P. ImpurestCheese.

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Damn. Thank you Impurest for making your last guide the one I asked for. I'm very grateful, but I feel pretty selfish knowing that her last one was the one I asked for.

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@mrmonster: @major_hellstorm: @jaycool2: I remember her mentioning something about having the next issues all the way up to Shocktober already planned out.. Makes me wonder if she had any finished ones left unposted.

Can't stop the "way too soon" feels from welling up..

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#47 cbishop  Online

@rockette said:

I remember she made one not too long ago for me about that giant centipede.

R.I.P. ImpurestCheese.

Feel special about that, because she loathed those things. She said that...well, here's a slightly edited version of her words:

...As for the Centipedes...on my gap year (in Indonesia) I woke up in my tent to find a massive centipede crawling on my arm. That freaked me out but what was worse was when the guide told us that each of it's 40 feet has a venomous spur on. I was unwell for the next three days actually screw that it felt as if someone had lathered up my skin with acid it was that painful

She said that they were one of her fears ever since. Yet she kept bringing them back, both on her animal blogs and in comments in the Fan-Fic forum.

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Yassassin

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#48  Edited By Yassassin

My favorite album actually references Benjamin and the this creature's extinction.

Loading Video...

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BullPR

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R.I.P

I am so sad to learn about this beautiful blogs only now and only in this way.

I LOVE zoology and I have now missed for ever the opportunity to interact with her and to be active in her blogs.

:-(

Sniff.

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Simon_the_digger

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Thank you for this...