Tasmanian tiger tooth tells tales

IMG: Capricon Caves, via abc.net.au

The thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, was a carniverous mammal endemic to Australia and New Guinea.

The animal was thought to have become extinct or near-extinct on the Australian mainland around 2,000 years ago, and the last surviving member of the species died in captivity in Tasmania in the 1930s.

The recent discovery of a fossilised thylacine tooth in a cave in central Queensland appears, though, to indicate that the animal may have lived on the mainland for longer than previously thought. The tooth has yet to be formally dated, but palaeontologist Rachelle Lawrence is excited by the find.

Up to the present day, thylacine sightings are still reported by members of the public, but these isolated incidents have never been verified. The animal is still believed extinct.


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