The Tasmanian Tiger
An article about the Tasmanian tiger, a marsupial carnivore that until the last two thousand years was at the top of the food chain in mainland Australia.
The Tasmanian tiger, what is it? The Tasmanian tiger was a marsupial carnivore that lived and some think still lives in remote areas of Australia and nearby Tasmania. It was about the size of a medium sized dog. The Tasmanian tiger as it was called really wasn't related to tigers or dogs, the two things that it most closely resembled. It was given the adopted name of Tiger because of the black stripes the went across its back. It had a tail much like that of a Kangaroo, that was neither flexible nor moved much unlike the tails of dogs or tigers.
It stood roughly three feet tall and was about was about five feet long from head to the end of its tail. As a predator it relied on its endurance to catch its prey, which consisted of small marsupials such as Bandicoots, and small Kangaroos. It would simply chase its prey for hours on end, sometimes for as long as eight hours until finally the prey collapsed and was unable to continue. The one thing about the tiger that made it formidable were its powerful jaws. According to biologists it had the widest opening jaws of any mammal, period. In the early part of the twentieth century the tiger was abundant on mainland Australia and Tasmania but as more and more sheep ranches began to take hold its habitat began to shrink. Farmers accused it of killing sheep although there was little evidence of this, thereafter the population dwindled from its being hunted down.
The last known survivor died in 1937 in the Queenland zoo. Although called an extinct species for more than six decades there have continued to be sightings on the island of Tasmania as well as Australia. Recently a Tasmanian tiger fetus was found preserved in alcohol in a museum from the last 1800's. A team of scientists now are looking into the viability of cloning this fetus and the possibility of resurrecting it.