Last Tasmanian Tiger's Missing Remains Are Found

The thylacine had been improperly catalogued, left in a cupboard
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2022 8:53 AM CST
Remains of Last Tasmanian Tiger Found in a Cupboard
A pair of thylacines, better known as Tasmanian tigers, at a zoo in 1902.   (Wikipedia/Smithsonian)

The remains of the last known Tasmanian tiger to walk the earth have been found after more than 80 years. Turns out, they were in a museum cupboard the whole time, reports the BBC. The female specimen of the extinct animal, formally known as a thylacine, will now be put on display at the Hobart Zoo in Tasmania, Australia. Thylacines, native to Australia and New Guinea, were about the size of coyotes and hunted to extinction by 19th- and 20th-century farmers, per CNN. The last known thylacine was captured by a trapper and sold to the zoo in May 1936, per the Guardian.

The animal died four months later, and its remains were transferred to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery but never properly catalogued. The specimen was long thought to have been discarded, but researchers came across a taxidermist's reference in a 1936-37 annual report and began searching anew. "It is bittersweet that the mystery surrounding the remains of the last thylacine has been solved,” says museum director Mary Mulcahy. "Our thylacine collection at TMAG is very precious and is held in high regard by researchers." (Scientists say they may be able to bring the species back to life with genetic editing and DNA from living relatives.)

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