This is the only one of my posts anyone ever looks at.
Here is my favorite creature. It’s a thylacine, or tasmanian tiger (not to be confused with the tasmanian devil) and it has one unusual characteristic: it’s extinct. Actually, it’s not that unusual to be extinct - between one and one hundred species are currently going extinct each day. But nonetheless, this one is worth noting.
Thylacines were found in Tasmania and before then also in Australia. They were marsupials, had tails like kangaroos, and had these gorgeous stripes on their haunches. Otherwise there’s not a lot known about them because they were nocturnal and generally hated by European settlers, so they were more often shot than observed. They were, however, familiar to indigenous peoples and had been for thousand of years, as demonstrated by their appearances in rock art.
What I love about them though is their mouths. If you skip to 2:02 in the video (which is some of the only footage in existence of thylacines, and as you can see they are hardly in their natural habitat), you’ll see what I mean. They could open their jaws up to 120 degrees! It looks completely unreal! The jaws actually weren’t particularly strong, but they looked fascinating regardless.
It was a beautiful animal. Sadly, what is perhaps most interesting about them is that they were one of the first, if not the first, animals to be driven to extinction by man essentially on purpose. European settlers in Tasmania believed (wrongly) that thylacines were killing their sheep, so the government put out a bounty on them at around the turn of the 20th century. Needless to say, many were killed as a result. It wasn’t the sole reason for their demise, however the other reasons, too, were man-made (habitat destruction, competition from invasive species, etc.). By the time the bounty was removed, thylacines had already become incredibly rare. In fact, part of the reason it was removed was specifically because their was no need for one anymore - they were practically all gone. The last sighting of a thylacine in the wild was in 1930, and even then it wasn’t until 1936 that they were placed under the protection of the law, not two months before the last thlyacine in captivity died. Not a single one has been seen since, or at least not credibly. The last 62 seconds of the video is actually footage of that very last thylacine, captured in 1933 (the thylacine and the footage). Sadly, when she died it was from neglect and exposure to extreme weather conditions. The kicker is they didn’t even bother to figure out at the time that she was most likely a female. Rest in peace, poor, sweet Benjamin…
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