There are a total of twelve alcohol preserved pouch young listed within
the 4th revision of the International Thylacine Specimen Database (2011).
Two of these specimens, registered in the catalogue of the Museum of Vertebrates
at Cornell University as "foetal specimens" [CU75 & CU77], could
not be located (17/5/2010) and are now presumed to no longer exist.
Of the ten remaining pouch young, a male specimen in the collection of
the National Museum of Victoria [NMV C5754] was sectioned for microscopy
in 1994 by Professor Milan Klima of the Institute of Anatomy, Johann Wolfgang
Goethe University, Frankfurt, and remains in the museum's collection as
a series of microscopy slides.
C5754 [now sectioned]. Courtesy: Museum Victoria. Photo: Prof. Dr. Heinz
Moeller. Source: International Thylacine Specimen Database (2013).
pouch young specimens C5755 - C5757. Courtesy: Museum Victoria. Source:
International Thylacine Specimen Database (2013).
Of the nine whole specimens, three are in the collection of the National
Museum of Victoria [NMV] in Melbourne [C5755, C5756, C5757], one in the
Australian Museum [AMS] in Sydney [P762], and five in the Tasmanian Museum
& Art Gallery [TMAG] in Hobart [A930, A931, A932, A933, A934].
Four of these specimens are males, four are females, with one [TMAG A933],
where the sex is yet to be determined.
pup specimens TMAG A930, 931, 932, 933 & 934. Courtesy: Tasmanian
Museum & Art Gallery.
doubt, the single most important discovery in the 5th revision of the ITSD
(2013) was the discovery in November 2011 of a litter of four pouch young
(DZCU 8021[1-4]) in the collection of the Department of Zoology (Faculty
of Science) at Charles University in Prague. The pouch young were
described for the first time in a paper by Sleightholme, Robovský
& Vohralík published in the Australian Zoologist in December
2012. These specimens are the only known wet pouch young outside
of Australia, and the earliest in terms of their ontogeny (development);
with an estimated age of < 2 weeks.
The four NMV pouch young together with their mother were obtained as dead
specimens from William M. McGowan, Superintendant of the Launceston City
Park Zoo (1882-1937), on the 23rd June 1909.
AMS pouch specimen was obtained on a collecting trip to Tasmania in 1866
by George Masters, the museum's assistant curator (1864-1874). In
addressed to the Australian Museum dated 27th December 1866, Masters states:
"I have shipped today per City of Hobart a large case containing a black
fish and a young thylacine (in spirit); these I have obtained from the
museum in exchange for birds, shells and another small box containing 2893
The TMAG pouch young were collected from different sources during the 1920s
and early 1930s by Dr Joseph Pearson, the Director of the museum from 1934
The external morphology of thylacine pouch young was first described by
Boardman (1945) in his paper, "Some points in the external morphology
of the pouch young of the marsupial, Thylacinus Cynocephalus".
Boardman presents a comparison of the external features (hair, pigmentation,
hair tracks, facial vibrissae, lips and oral fissure, rhinarium, eye, external
ear, feet and marsupium) of the pouch specimen in the Australian Museum
collection [P762] with the pouch specimens (litter of 4) in the National
Museum Victoria collection [C5754,
C5755, C5756, C5757].
AMS P762. Courtesy: Australian Museum. Photo: Prof. Dr. Heinz Moeller.
Source: International Thylacine Specimen Database (2013).
discovery of the Charles University specimens takes the total of wet pouch
young specimens in collections to 14, one of which exists as a series of
microscopy sections (this total excludes the two Cornell University
specimens [CU75 & CU77] that cannot be located). The Charles
University litter is unique in providing researchers with a valuable insight
into the early development of the thylacine.
Pouch young specimens DZCU 8021 [1-4]. Photo: Jan Robovský.
Specimen DZCU 8021 . Photo: Tereza Holicová.
Sleightholme, Robovský & Vohralík, Australian Zoologist