(1973) South Australia:
In South Australia in 1973, Liz and Gary Doyle briefly captured a rather
fascinating image on motion film. It shows a yellow-brown, dog-shaped
animal running at speed across a road.
selection of stills from the Doyle's short piece of motion film footage
taken in South Australia in 1973. Could the animal shown here running
across a road possibly be a thylacine? When examined closely, the
film is indeed intriguing. However, one must not quickly jump to
conclusions regarding rather blurry, nondescript images such as these.
It is believed by some that the animal is simply a fox which has lost much
of the fur on its tail, possibly due to infection with mange.
the film icon to view the complete film sequence.
Detailed analysis of the footage appears to show the faint outline of stripes
on the rump, and the gait appears thylacine-like. However, the image
quality is simply too poor, and the motion too unsteady, to perceive any
distinguishing physical features that would conclusively identify
the animal as a thylacine.
A word of caution must
be sounded when looking at images such as these, as it is all too easy
to jump to conclusions regarding rather blurry images and see within them
what one wants to see. Opinions on the true
identity of the animal shown in the Doyle's film vary. Some feel
that it is simply a European
red fox (a species which was deliberately introduced to Australia by
settlers in 1845, and has now become a naturalized invasive) which has
lost much of the fur on its tail due to either mange or molting.
Others suggest that it may possibly be a dog.
In a personal e-mail
communication to the curator of the Thylacine Museum on 5th October 2005,
the author of the online publication "Magnificent
Survivor - Continued Existence of the Tasmanian Tiger" made the
following comments on the Doyle film:
"The physical dimensions of the animal shown in the Doyle's footage
are not consistent with a fox or dog - particularly the back legs, which
look identical to those of the thylacine. The animal also appears
to be bigger than a fox, and the tail seems to be longer and certainly
straighter than that of a fox or dog. When running, most of the animal's
driving force comes from the back legs, and some of the stills show it
in a stance like that of a kangaroo. It is fairly simple to identify
a hoaxed thylacine image, but I can't see anything in this film to suggest
it is a hoax. The footage seems convincing to me - consistent with
the running juvenile thylacine I saw in 2002, and there was no uncertainty
in that case. The juvenile that I witnessed also ran primarily using
the power of the back legs, and appeared to grab and pull at the ground
with its front feet."