The last Tasmanian tiger

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The last Tasmanian tiger

Extinct during the first half of the 20th century, the Tasmanian tiger represented the last living species of the Thylacinidae family, as well as the largest carnivorous marsupial, and, until about 3500 years ago, also the largest oceanian predator ever.

It was a super predator, that is, at the top of the food chain. After its extinction in Australia, it survived in Tasmania until the 1930s, along with other endemic species such as the Tasmanian devil. The irrefutable proof of the existence of this animal in Australia until relatively recently was the discovery of a mummified carcass of thylacine in a cave on the Nullarbor plain in 1990, dated to about 3300 years ago.

It is thought that the thylacine in Australia preferably inhabited dry eucalyptus forests, bushy areas and grassy grasslands, while the Tasmanian populations preferred the coastal heaths, later also chosen by European settlers to graze their livestock.

Among the causes of the disappearance of the thylacine from mainland Australia (and later of its complete extinction) the most cited and generally considered reliable is the arrival of the dingo following man: however, especially in recent years this hypothesis has lost a lot of its centrality, as it is thought that the two species did not actively compete with each other, and that in the event of a fight, the bigger and stronger dingo would probably have the upper hand.

The video of the Tasmanian tiger

The National Film and Sound Archive posted on its Twitter account the recently edited footage of Benjamin, the last known extant Tasmanian tiger. The original video was shot by naturalist David Fleay at the Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart before the animal died 85 years ago and the species was declared extinct.

Now the last Tasmanian tiger has been returned to its colors and we can thus see what the fur of this carnivorous animal that lived in Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania looked like and resembled a hyena but with a characteristic streak on the back of the back.

The video is an attempt to preserve testimony of this animal that no longer exists. Among other things, the NFSA has made it known that there are fewer than 12 original Tasmanian tiger films, for a total of about three minutes of silent and black and white footage.

In the tweet on the NFSA we can read: "The NFSA has released colourised footage of the last known surviving Tasmanian tiger - or Thylacine - for National Threatened Species Day. Read more about how this B&W footage has been given a new life."