Sunday 20 October 2019

Another One Back from Extinction?

It looks as if the Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine might be the latest creature to return from 'extinction' and astound the world. It would be good to know it's still around, as it's a quite remarkable animal – a large carnivorous marsupial, one of only two species in which both female and male have pouches; in the male it serves as a scrotal pouch, into which the tender privities can be withdrawn for protection (a handy arrangement, but it never caught on). The Tasmanian Tiger can also open its jaws unusually wide, up to 80 degrees, stand briefly on its hind legs, and hop rather in the manner of a kangaroo.
  If the Thylacine is indeed still extant, it will join a distinguished and ever growing list of animals wrongly believed to be extinct – in some cases for millions of years. They range from the Highland Singing Dog of New Guinea to that fine New Zealand bird, the Takahe.  The most famous of these 'Lazarus species' is the Coelocanth, and the most mysterious, perhaps, the Australian Night Parrot and the Terror Skink of New Caledonia. Has nobody told these creatures that all life on Earth is supposed to be extinct the year after next (or am I distorting the XR message)?

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