Welcome to The Thylacine Museum, an online scientific and
educational resource aimed at promoting a greater awareness and understanding
of the thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger. Here you will find detailed
information covering virtually every aspect of the natural history of this
unique Australian marsupial.
The thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) is the only species of the
marsupial family Thylacinidae to exist into modern times.
It is commonly referred to as the Tasmanian tiger or Tasmanian wolf,
but being a marsupial, it is neither a tiger or a wolf in any true sense.
It is, however, an excellent example of parallel evolution - a process
which occurs as a result of adaptation to similar environments and ways
of life. The thylacine's body shape approximately resembles that
of the placental wolf because it is a predator which occupies a similar
ecological niche. Apart from the notable differences in dentition,
even the thylacine's skull structure superficially resembles that of a
canid. Through their separate courses of evolution, many of the marsupial
mammals of Australia have arrived at remarkably similar physical forms
to the placental mammals found elsewhere in the world.
The last survivor of an ancient and once diverse family of carnivorous
marsupials, the thylacine is a truly amazing and beautiful mammal.
Sadly, out of ignorance, irrational fear, and largely just because it was
perceived as an economic threat, a concerted war of extermination was waged
against the species. This resulted in one of man's most focused acts
of destruction towards the fauna of Australia, leading to the deaths of
thousands of thylacines during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
By the time this persecution was seen as the tragedy that it was, the thylacine
had been brought to the brink of extinction. Today, the thylacine
is listed as extinct by the WWF and IUCN. However, there is sufficient
evidence in the form of sightings reports, many from highly respected sources,
to suggest that the extinction event may not yet have taken place.
Therefore, throughout the museum, the species is viewed as extant, albeit
The thylacine has always been one of my specialized areas of study and
research, and through this scientifically referenced virtual museum, I
hope to promote a greater public knowledge of this most remarkable marsupial.
I am grateful to my colleague Dr. Stephen Sleightholme (Director to the
International Thylacine Specimen Database Project) for his assistance with
the latest update of the Thylacine Museum, and also the late Professor
Heinz Moeller, whose extensive historical archives were central in the
expansion of the site's content.
The museum will now take you on a journey through time to learn more about
this extraordinary and elusive marsupial carnivore.
Cameron R. Campbell
Founder and Curator
by Col Bailey