Stuart Humphreys

Australian Museum

Australian Museum
Sydney, Australia

Thylacinus cynocephalus

Although at first sight the Thylacine looks like a dog, it’s not! As a marsupial, the Thylacine is more closely related to kangaroos than it is to dogs or wolves. Its superficial similarity to dogs is a result of convergent evolution: both dogs and Thylacines independently developed similar traits as both are large carnivores that hunt other mammals by pursuit. Thylacines mostly hunted at night, singly or in pairs, with kangaroos and wallabies their main prey.

The Thylacine is unusual among marsupials in that both the female and male have pouches. However, only the female could suckle young and carried up to four in her pouch. Although in historic times the Thylacine was confined to Tasmania, it was formerly widespread on the Australian mainland and also occurred in New Guinea. After the European settlement of Tasmania, the Thylacine was intensely persecuted by shooting, trapping and snaring. The last known Thylacine died in captivity on 7 September 1936. This tragic event is now commemorated as National Threatened Species Day.

Extinct, previously found on Tasmania until early 20th century


  • Title: Thylacine
  • Creator: Stuart Humphreys
  • Publisher: Australian Museum
  • Rights: Australian Museum

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