Back From The Dead? Reported Sightings Fuel Hope For Return Of Tasmanian Tigers

It has been more than eight decades since the last known Tasmanian tiger died. In that time, the marsupial has become the stuff of textbook sketches and yellowing photographs, little more than a memory aging into oblivion.

But Thylacinus cynocephalus may still be out there.

 Recent “plausible sightings” have challenged the accepted wisdom that the animal has gone extinct — and have inspired researchers at Australia’s James Cook University to commence a quest to find it themselves.

Let’s clarify one thing right away: this animal is no feline. In fact, it’s a marsupial — in the same family as kangaroos — but its face looks a lot like a dog.

“It’s a dog with a pouch,” the university’s Sandra Abell tells All Things Considered. She’s one of the people leading the search in Queensland, Australia.

The Tasmanian tiger, in this photograph taken while the species was still around. terr-bo/Flickr

A Tasmanian tiger in captivity, circa 1930. It is believed that the last wild thylacine was shot in 1930 and the last captive one died in 1936.  Topical Press Agency/Getty Images            


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.

Guys they got photographic proof of a supposedly extinct Australian bird that hadn’t been seen for 100 years and now they have ‘plausible’ sightings of the Tasmanian tiger that they’re going to go investigate

If they find some alive I’m going to lose my shit

@simple-pianist @emptyheartsonfire

The Oxford Dictionary defines a cryptid as “An animal whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated”.

The last confirmed thylacine was the one, commonly known nowadays as Benjamin, who died at the Hobart Zoo in 1936. Though the species wasn’t officially declared extinct until the 1980s, it’s more than likely it was long gone far before then. However, since Benjamin’s death there have been thousands of supposed sightings of the thylacine, making its official status as “Extinct” hotly disputed.