Feb 01 2013

Humans are responsible for the extinction of the Thylacine

A new study says, Humans Alone Wiped Out Thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger.

We humans made many animals become extinct. Thylacine was one of them.


Thylacines looked like a cross between a hyena and a tiger. They had pouches like possums and tails like kangaroos. The Tasmanian government put bounties on dead thylacines in 1830, blaming them for attacks on sheep, paid £1 per head for dead adult thylacines and ten shillings for puppies. Actually many more thylacines were killed than were claimed for by farmers and bounty hunters. The reasons behind the thylacine’s extinction in the 20th century are bounty hunting, habitat loss,reduction in the thylacine’s prey due to human harvesting and competition from millions of introduced sheep.

I do not think we should bring thylacines back to life. They would die out anyway, because their jaws were weak and they had low genetic diversity. Tasmanian devil will soon be extinct by a contagious cancer . We should rather try to save endangered animals like Tiger, Polar Bear, Giant Panda, Chimpanzee, Amur Leopard, Elephant, Dolphin, Rhino, Tree Kangaroo, Bonobo, Whale, Orangutan, Gorilla, Marine Turtle. It is their planet too. We humans just share this planet with them. We do not have the right to wipe them out.


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  1. 1

    I found it interesting that when Primitive humans migrated around the world, they wiped out the super mammals in Australia, and North America. It’s incredible. These animals more or less survived through countless Ice Ages, but the last one where humans final expanded outward, they were all wiped out.

    I’m in favour, however, using the excuse of bringing back extinct animals to further science, and to practice creating and maintaining the environment to see them thrive once more. Perhaps using the lessons to save wildlife that might go extinct.

  2. 2

    Taslima, you seem a little dismissive of Australian fauna.

    1. 2.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      I don’t think so.

      1. John Morales

        How many marsupial apex predators are there, Taslima?

        1. Taslima Nasreen

          There are 235 species of marsupials in Australia. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=3YQSDiWHfD0C&pg=PA422&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false

          1. michaelbusch

            That wasn’t the question. Right now there are very few marsupials that aren’t eaten by some other animal. Thylacoleo carnifex (also, erroneously, called ‘the marsupial lion’) and a lot of the other large ones went extinct in the few thousand years after humans first arrived in Australian (~45,000 years ago). The thylacine had lived on the mainland at that time, but only survived until the last century on Tasmania. The same happened to the Tasmanian devil, which obviously still survives. And there is also the quolls, species of which are still found on the mainland.

            It is far from obvious that we will ever be able to resurrect the thylacine. It all depends on how well preserved the cells from the youngest preserved specimens are. The attempt to resurrect the Pyrean ibex, from cells that had been on ice for only ten years, was not successful.

            This also applies to your earlier piece on Neanderthal resurrection. As detailed by Jerry Coyne at http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/01/27/why-we-cant-clone-a-neanderthal-or-any-ancient-organism/ , accumulated damage to the dead cells eventually makes resurrection impossible. Even if the genome itself is still intact, we don’t know how to arrange it properly on the chromosomes for it to function.

  3. 3
    Gregory in Seattle

    The term you want is the Anthropocene extinction, which includes all of the human-causes extinctions of the larger (and mostly human caused) Holocene extinction.

  4. 4
    Kilian Hekhuis

    I do not think we should bring thylacines back to life. They would die out anyway, because their jaws were weak and they had low genetic diversity.

    ??? Again a misinformed statement about biology, Taslima?

    1. 4.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      Researchers said, not me.

  5. 5

    So we should let the California Condor die out? If I remember right they were down to 49 individuals at one point.
    And i wonder how much genetic diversity is left in the different groups of rhinos. From what I understand their numbers are way down.

  6. 6

    Bring back the thylacine. Maybe they can digest those cane toads.

  7. 7

    So you agree with the xian bible that the Human Species is and should be the sole arbiter of what other species survive or die (off)?

    Or do you believe that god(s) will make this decision?


  8. 8
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    They sure are.
    I particularly liked this playful thylacine. (I think this is the same vid as one of the mpegs I’ve had saved for years.)

    I have to say that I don’t at all understand comments 2, 2.1.1, 4, 5, and 7. Uh,what?

  9. 9

    I think we should try to bring back the thylacines. They were such unique and fascinating animals. Did you know they sometimes hopped like kangaroos? I think it’s worth trying. If it fails, we don’t lose anything except time and money, and people waste both of those things on less worthy causes all the time. And scientists would learn just as much from failure as from success. The knowledge they gained might help to save another species.

    I agree that we should also try to save all the animals listed. Don’t forget as well that it’s not just mammals that are in trouble. Many small insects and frogs and birds are suffering too and they don’t always get as much publicity. We should conserve these things for their own sake, because they are beautiful and interesting in their endless variety, but also we should save them for our sake, because you never know what might happen if the balance of the ecosystem is upset. And because they are our family. It’s in their DNA.

    Also, your commentators should really read your links before commentating.

    The Tasmanian Devil story is just amazing. It’s like a evil version of the story of Henrietta Lack’s cultured cells. Or a modern zombie/werewolf story.

    The low genetic diversity of the Tasmanian Tiger might have been because they were wiped out from the mainland by the first human migrants into Australia, as well as competition from the introduced dingo. I doubt they always were like that. Or maybe they went throught a population bottleneck from a natural disaster, like the cheetah?

  10. 10

    well its like saying americans should be extinct

  11. 11
    Chuck Auzat

    I added a blog to your favorites and will visit you frequently.

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