Thursday 25 October 2012


This sculpture group in Launceston features a group of extinct Australian animals known as the Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus). This animal was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. It is known as a “tiger” because of its striped back. Native to continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea, it is thought to have become extinct in the first half of 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.

The Tasmanian Tiger had become extremely rare or extinct on the Australian mainland before European settlement of the continent, but it survived on the island of Tasmania along with several other endemic species, including the Tasmanian devil (still common). Intensive hunting of the Tasmanian Tiger 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 are proven. Like the tigers and wolves of the Northern Hemisphere, the thylacine was an apex predator. Its closest living relative is thought to be either the Tasmanian devil or the numbat. The thylacine was one of only two marsupials to have a pouch in both sexes (the other being the water opossum). The male thylacine had a pouch that acted as a protective sheath, covering the male’s external reproductive organs while he ran through thick brush. It has been described as a formidable predator because of its ability to survive and hunt prey in extremely sparsely populated areas.

This post is part of the Signs, Signs meme.


  1. A few years ago I saw a film of a living Tasmanian tiger drawn to a bait. Thank you for posting these pictures.

  2. Impressive sculptures, and the church behind one of your shots really caught my eye. Certainly hope the sightings become documented so that just possibly they are not extinct. genie

  3. that is an interesting looking creature. I like the fierceness of the statues.

  4. Beautiful sculptures and fascinating facts.


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