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Thylacine

The largest known carnivorous marsupial in written history was officially declared extinct in 1982, decades before the last "confirmed" thylacine died in the Hobart Zoo. Despite being considered extinct, thousands of sightings, photographs, tracks, and videos suggest they may survive to this day.

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Thylacine

Mammal, Marsupial

Taxonomy
Geography

Australian cryptid, Papua New Guinean cryptid, West Papuan cryptid, Indonesian cryptid, Melanesian cryptid

Habitat

Rainforest-dwelling, Savannah-dwelling, Grassland-dwelling, Mountain-dwelling

Descriptors

Carnivore, Lazarus taxon, Filmed/recorded, Photographed, Prints casted

Thylacines, or Tasmanian tigers, were a species of dog-sized carnivorous marsupial that inhabited mainland Australia until about 2000 BCE and survived in Tasmania until about 1935, when they were overhunted for being pests. Despite that they are generally considered extinct, there have been thousands of sightings of them afterwards. Thylacines resemble dogs with a thick tail, beige fur, and black tiger-like stripes and their back. Thylacines have arguably the most video evidence of any Australian cryptid except Australian Panthers. The Australian Rare Fauna Research Association reports having 3,800 sightings on file from mainland Australia since the 1936 extinction date, while the Mystery Animal Research Centre of Australia recorded 138 up to 1998, and the Department of Conservation and Land Management recorded 65 in Western Australia over the same period. Independent thylacine researchers Buck and Joan Emburg of Tasmania report 360 Tasmanian and 269 mainland post-extinction 20th-century sightings, figures compiled from several sources.

One example of the many post-1936 reports of thylacines was in May of 1964, when Clive, a logger at Whian Whian State Forest in New South Wales claimed to have seen a thylacine twice in one week. His first sighting was when a dog-like creature with black stripes on its back and a long, kangaroo-like tail ran in front of his car and was only 10 ft away from hitting it. His next sighting was a couple of days later at the same spot, seeing it jump down a slope and snuck across the road. Nearby at Crabbes Creek, a school teacher was walking his German shepherd down when it started growling at an animal sheltering under an abandoned shed. The German Shepherd ran at the animal to attack, but the striped dog-like creature ran out of the shed making a bizarre cry with its mouth open disproportionately wide. They chased the creature into a large hollow log, but it refused to leave, so they gave up.

Some of the most convincing evidence of thylacines still existing comes from photos and videos. In 1973, South Australian residents Gary and Liz Doyle took a 10-second film seemingly showing a thylacine running across the road in front of them. The body proportions are notably not dog or fox-like, with a very long, thin tail and low hocks. In February of 1985, an Aboriginal man named Kevin Cameron photographed what appears to be a thylacine in southwestern Australia, although only its rear and tail are visible, as the rest is obscured by a tree. Dr. Ronald Strahan, the former director of the Taronga Zoo in Sydney considered the photo to be authentic and showed "nothing other than a thylacine."

On the 25th of June, 1995, an elderly couple shot a short video of what appears to be a thylacine near Charleville, Queensland. Though the media conflated it with alien big cats, the animal in the footage has a longer snout, less round face and long legs. In 2008, one of the clearest videos allegedly showing a thylacine was filmed in southwestern Victoria. It shows the striped dog-like animal hobbling across a field. The footage is not only notable for the clear resolution, but also the length the animal is seen on camera. In the fall of 2016, Brad Mitchell, a resident from Sawyers valley, Western Australia caught what appears to be a thylacine on a motion sensor camera. In 2017, the Youtube account DayDreamTV, which makes educational marine biology videos, uploaded a video filmed by the accounts creator of an alleged thylacine that interrupted his filming of a sunset. The distinct long tail and hopping motion is notable.