Here is the Smithsonian thylacine as it currently appears in the museum’s Hall of Mammals. This individual was a female that lived at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. from 1902 to 1904. She was carrying three pouch young upon her arrival, two of which survived to adulthood (a male and a female, pictured here). Thanks to this little family, the Smithsonian has an impressive collection of thylacine material, but only the mother’s mounted skin is viewable by the public.

Unfortunately, this lovely specimen is displayed behind a fabric curtain in an effort to drive home the concept of extinction. If you go around the side of the display, you can barely catch a glimpse of her rear end.

The exhibit claims that the dingo was responsible for the thylacine’s extinction on mainland Australia, which occurred about 2,000 years ago. New research suggests that the dingo was not really to blame; rather, a changing climate and overhunting by growing Aboriginal populations were the likely causes. [x]

In case you’re curious, here’s a rare “pre-curtain” photo from Flickr:

For more information about the Smithsonian thylacine and her legacy, click here.

“The $55,000 search to find a Tasmanian tiger” - The Australian Women’s Weekly, 24 September 1980

This article contains an interview with an elderly Wilfred “Wilf” Batty, the man who is now famous for killing the last wild thylacine in 1930. It reads as follows:

“Fifty years ago Wilf Batty’s shotgun blast started a legend. His target was what people thought was the last Tasmanian tiger in the wild. After that the tiger, or Thylacine, disappeared into the realms of fantasy and folklore.

But has it really disappeared? Reports of sightings of the yellowish, wolf-like animal with dark stripes across its back are increasing. Findings of footprints and fur proliferate.

The Weekly tracked down Wilf Batty. Now 79, he lives in Tasmania’s north coast town of Wynyard. Was he really the man who shot the last Tasmanian tiger?

"Aye," he said in pure north English accent. "Aye, I shot tiger. He were killing poultry."

The date: May 6, 1930. The place: Mawbanna, Wilf’s property in north-west Tasmania. The time: noon. It was the first and last Tasmanian tiger Wilf ever saw.

Wilf tried to hold the tiger by the tail, but it swung him off balance and jumped a two-metre fence. Then he raised his double-barrelled gun and shot.

"Only one shot," he said. "One shot int’ shoulder. He lived full 20 minutes after. People came from all about to look. Teeth he had as could go right through a man’s wrist.

"I sold tiger for 5 pounds to Tiger Harrison, of Wynyard, who sold him to Hobart Museum for stuffing, who sent him ont’ tour of Australia, and I haven’t heard since where tiger is."

Wilf believes the Thylacine (the last captive tiger died in Hobart Zoo in 1933) became extinct, not because of bounties and hunts but because of distemper it caught from imported dogs.“



Extinct animals. Don’t forget them.
Thylacine - Yangtze River Dolphin - Ivory-Billed Woodpecker - Quagga - Bubal Hartebeest


This is the Extinct Species Graveyard at the Bronx Zoo in New York. The only “gravestone” not included in this post is that of the Labrador Duck.

I was very pleased to find this little display at the zoo even though some of the dates are inaccurate.


I was fortunate enough to finally view this beautiful thylacine specimen behind the scenes at the AMNH in New York. I have been trying to view it for quite some time if anyone recalls this post!

This was a female that lived at the Bronx Zoo from 1917 to 1919. She was the last of four thylacines to live there [x]. After her death, the New York Zoological Society donated her body to the AMNH. This individual’s skeleton is also part of the museum’s collection.

Unfortunately, none of the AMNH’s thylacine material is currently on public display.


The thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus, Greek for “dog-headed pouched one”) was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. It is more commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger (because of its striped back). Native to continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea, it is thought to have become extinct in the 20th century. It was the last extant member of its family, Thylacinidae, although several related species have been found in the fossil record dating back to the early Miocene.

Intensive hunting encouraged by bounties is generally blamed for its extinction, but other contributing factors may have been disease, the introduction of dogs, and human encroachment into its habitat. Despite its official classification as extinct, sightings are still reported, though none proven.

Analysis of the skeleton suggests that, when hunting, the thylacine relied on stamina rather than speed in the chase.