Something Different – Thylacenes


"Despite their "tiger" sobriquet, thylacines are not members of the cat family. Nor should they be confused with the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), another carnivorous marsupial that is native to Australia and is still widespread in Tasmania.

Fossil evidence suggests that the modern thylacine — Thylacinus cynocephalus, whose name means "dog-headed pouched one" — emerged about 4 million years ago. Once widespread across Australia, the animal disappeared everywhere except Tasmania about 2,000 years ago, according to the National Museum of Australia (NMA)."


Seems to me there was a movie a while back in which Willem Dafoe as a hunter stalks the last Tasmanian Tiger.  As a recovering hunter I could really identify with this character and understand his emotions when he finds one that is sick, old and alone and finishes her off.

I sure hope there are some left up there in Queensland hanging out with the box jellies, salt water crocs and all the rest.  pl

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27 Responses to Something Different – Thylacenes

  1. Peter AU says:

    Thylacenes were very quickly eradicated in Tasmania which makes me think they are not and elusive animal. I believe there was a bounty on them as they killed livestock.
    There is some rough country in Tasmania, but none survived there, perhaps none lived in the rougher country.
    This from wikipedia “Europeans may have encountered it as far back as 1642 when Abel Tasman first arrived in Tasmania. His shore party reported seeing the footprints of “wild beasts having claws like a Tyger””
    Tracks like these would be well known to aboriginals and stockmen if they were about. They would be distincty different to dingo/dog tracks.
    A good tracker/dogger would soon find them or find their watering points and so forth, if any exist which seems doubtful.

  2. Larry Kart says:

    That would be Willem Dafoe:
    Daniel Defoe probably was stalking Moll Flanders. 🙂

  3. Peter AU says:

    An interesting site here on the thylacine. The link opens up to a section on the Tasmanian bushmen and thylacine

  4. ToivoS says:

    I sure hope there are some left up there in Queensland
    As we all do or should.

  5. walrus says:

    Stranger things have happened. I hope the Tasmanian tiger is found alive and well and living in North Queensland. We have had other species returned from the brink; the night parrot for example, and then there was the discovery of the Wollemi Pine – a tree only known from million year fossil records – until it was found growing in an almost inaccessible canyon.
    Personally. I have seen with my own eyes what appears to have been a black panther – rumoured to be bred from unit mascots of US units left hind at the end of WWII. I aint joking, it was too big for a feral cat and it was a big cat with a very long tail.

  6. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg says:

    I hold out hope for the Mokele Mbembe myself. Which is supposedly a dinosaur the locals see in central Africa. It’s nice to think there are still holdouts and that we haven’t catalogued every species of megafauna yet.
    Australia has some scary colossal spiders too.

  7. turcopolier says:

    I used to own a little place in the country near Strasburg, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley and we saw several cougars, panthers, mountain lions (whatever you want to call them- big tan colored cats) in the woods around there. pl

  8. Eric Newhill says:

    When I worked for the BLM in Arizona, I used to hear the big cats – we called them “mountain lions” – making their eerie screams in the night in the high desert and mountainous regions along the Mexico border. One morning I was checking a guzzler (a water collection system that ensures antelope and mountain sheep have water in the desert high country) way out in the middle of no where and there was a freshly killed mule deer on the trail. I inspected it and wasn’t sure what killed it, but guessed in was a mountain lion. Mountain lions are so stealthy that they walk on surfaces that minimize leaving tracks. So I went maybe 400 yards further down the trail to the guzzler, saw that it was sufficiently full of water and then came back down the same trail that I used going in (I know…US military say that’s a no no). The deer carcass was no longer lying on the trail. In fact, it was totally gone from sight. There was a blood trail leading up to some large boulders and I could see some blood going up the boulders to a ridge line maybe forty feet high. I gave the .357 magnum on my hip a little pat as I pondered the neck and jaw strength of the predator that could drag, by mouth, a full sized mule deer up over those boulders.
    I never saw a mountain lion in the three years I was on that job, nor in all the years I spent hiking and hunting in the Sonoran dessert and mountains. Only heard them. I did see several bobcats/lynx. There were legends among ranchers and native peoples of jaguars living in the area. Apparently, in recent years, these beautiful animals have been caught on film in exactly the areas they were said to inhabit. This was done using modern motion sensor trail cams. Again, the stealthiness of the big cats is remarkable.

  9. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    One way or another, I believe that within the decade we will start to see recently extinct animals (at least cute ones at the top of the food chain – not sure about extinct beetles….) de-extincted
    A talk by Beth Shapiro on youtube makes a good case that Jurassic park is not in the near future cards..
    Having a similar living species to act as a surrogate mother currently is very important.
    The ethical questions are fascinating.

  10. Valissa says:

    Dancing Octopus Wins Underwater Photographer of the Year (PHOTOS)

  11. Prem says:

    It’s a wonderful example of convergent evolution.
    It’s hard to believe they ever existed. They are the sort of creature Jaroslav Hasek invented during his brief stint as editor of the Czech journal “Animal World” (he was fired after claiming the Prague zoo had acquired a pair of werewolves).

  12. Swamp Yankee says:

    I hope they still are up there in northern Queensland.
    Some of our bigger animals are definitely coming back. I have a friend of a friend who discovered mountain lion scat in the woods around the Quabbin Reservoir in west-central MA 10 or more years ago. Then there was that mountain lion down in New Haven that DNA evidence showed had migrated from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula or adjacent regions of northern Wisconsin and Minnesota.
    Down here in southeastern Massachusetts, I’ve personally witnessed the stunning come-back of beavers, and a ranger at a local state forest tells me he’s seen a family of bears in the blueberry scrub and pines behind one particular kettle pond. I’ve also heard of moose in some of the larger swamps here. I’ve also seen increasing numbers of bald eagles fishing.
    We certainly have our problems, but I’m grateful to think that there are more of these large animals in my neck of the woods today than at any other time in the last 300 (give or take) years.

  13. Peter AU says:

    A little here on cameras and the thylacine at the bottom of the linked page.
    Having a little to to with the environmental scientist types and also a good tracker, I would put my money on the tracker any day for something like this.
    A combination of tracker to find traces, and then set cameras where he would set traps perhaps the ideal.

  14. Booby says:

    When I was growing up in Eastern NC, the Carolina Panther was known to be extinct. Occasional someone driving at night through one of the uninhabited pocosins would report a large cat crossing the hiway; but, no one believed them. My own Dad reported seeing a Panther crossing the hiway when he was driving home from a party. we just laughed & said that he shouldn’t have been driving after drinking.
    Finally in the 1980’s a DNR biologist was observing wildlife deep in a pocosin when he observed what he thought was a large dog chasing a deer. The “dog” leaped & raked the flanks of the deer drawing blood. The biologist realized that he’d just seen an “extinct” Carolina Panther.

  15. turcopolier says:

    IMO there is also the possibility that western cougar have now expanded their range to the east coast. pl

  16. Booby says:

    It’s entirely possible. In the past 10 year we’ve had 2 cougars pass through my Eastern Shore neighborhood. DNR confirmed the cats, saying they were probably young males from PA looking a new range. None have stayed.
    I have a SC cousin who is a sheep herder. She’d lost a couple of ewes to a large predator & finally saw a cougar in a back pasture at sunset. The next morning she found tracks & spore. When she called DNR they informed her that there were no cougars in SC. She said that since the cat didn’t exist, she’d shoot it. DNR folks begged her not to shoot the none-existent cat. Many believe that SC DNR had introduced the cougar back into western SC to help control the exploding deer population.
    The South has some huge expanses of swamps & pocosins. I’m still hoping that the Ivory Billed Woodpecker & the Carolina Parakeet are in those swamps.

  17. optimax says:

    Here is a video of a panther in Corkscrew Swamp Florida:
    Another video

  18. Peter AU says:

    A couple of aticles here but they hardly touch on his tracking skill.
    One property owner I knew always kept an eye out for tracks of dogs moving into his property and was always successful in trapping them until one came along that he couldn’t trap. It was a bit of an ongoing saga over six months or so and in the end he offered Don a thousand dollars to get the dog. Don had it hanging from the fence in three or four days but had also picked up the tracks of an old bitch that was hard to get. He tracked her to a dam which was one of her watering points and waited up a tree for ten days until she come in one night.
    My son has worked with him a bit and picked up a few of the the tricks of the trade.
    One time when my son was there he tracked a bitch across cap rock to find the den. A few bits of hard gravel here and there, but I would have trouble seeing if a cow walked across that sort of country let alone a dog.

  19. turcopolier says:

    Peter Au
    Maybe you could change your name to “Dog Hunter.” pl

  20. alba etie says:

    Col Lang
    We have mountain lions in Central Texas, even mating pairs that are local residents . I will see them from time to time early morning or late evening along the Pedernales or Colorado River – especially when I am sitting quietly in one spot live bait fishing for flat head catfish ( better table fare then red snapper IMO ) We also have bald eagles returning here in numbers –there are three nesting sites near here that the locals protect avidly from the public prying eyes. . I too am a recovering hunter – although I will purchase the full package hunting / fishing combo, including federal migratory ducks and geese tags every year because its supports habitat restoration and gun safety classes for kids.

  21. different clue says:

    There is good reason to hope that a few Ivory Billed Woodpeckers are not dead yet in-around and along the Choctawhatchee River in Panhandle Florida. A professor of ornithology at University of Alabama Auburn was advised of their existence by a knowledgeable amateur landowner in the area and his ( and his grad students’) searches give good reason to think that it is so.
    I found a book by him at a yard sale and bought it. His researches and assembly of evidence seem very carefully done. Being a professor, he wants “more research” so that we can “know” how best to conserve the birds. But based on his discoveries of extensive evidence of extensive feeding on grubs in pine tree plantations just up above and beyond the river itself, I think we already know enough to plant more “conservation plantations” of this kind of pine trees wherever the social and economic conditions permit. First along the Choctawhatchee area itself to give the woodpeckers more food to breed more woodpeckers with. And then in large enough block-plantings to feed more grubs for more IB woodpeckers along the nearest neighboring good-to-hide-in swamp-bordered rivers. So that if surplus IB woodies overflow into the neighboring swamp rivers looking for a home, there will be grub-filled pine tree woodpecker pastures ready and waiting for them.

  22. Cee says:

    Col. Lang,
    I watched that William Defoe movie. Thinking about the recent vote that allows hunters to shoot or gas bears, wolves and anything else while sleep there won’t be any wild animals left. Outrageous.

  23. Cee says:

    Peter AU,
    I’d like to hang that property owner from a fence and beat his ass before doing it.

  24. Peter AU says:

    Why is that Cee?

  25. Peter AU says:

    I would have to try and crawl under a rock somewhere if my son found out I had given myself that tag.

  26. Cee says:

    He deserves cruelty and then some.

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