The ITSD lists all the available catalogue data for each individual specimen
- e.g. country, city, holding institution (and its acronym), identification
number(s) (old & current), date of acquisition (accession), sex of
specimen, specimen type, collector, source, purchase and exchange details,
and finally, any additional remarks pertaining to the specimen. Specimen
material within the ITSD is subdivided into 17 categories, the largest
of which is complete skulls (with a total of 310 specimens), accounting
for just over 41% of the total specimen count.
Thylacine Specimen Database is a wonderful research resource and an extremely
valuable part of Australia's natural heritage".
|Prof. Dr. Heinz
Former Director of the
Zoological Museum & Department of Comparative Morphology of Vertebrates,
Author of "Der
To support the
data component of the ITSD and to significantly enhance its educational
worth, high-resolution digital images of the specimens are included. The
primary justification for including digital images was to:
researchers remote visual access to thylacine specimen material and to
its accompanying data, thus encouraging and promoting continued research
into the species.
specimen material from excessive handling, hence directly contributing
to its long-term preservation.
||Assist with the
security of source material in that a photographic record existed for all
specimens within the database.
images of the specimens in their current state of preservation. The
ITSD specimen image bank forms the largest single photographic resource
of its kind anywhere in the world.
"The data sets within the ITSD are supported by an image bank of around
2000 high-resolution digital specimen photographs. All biological material
deteriorates over time and this unique resource will act as a permanent
record of the specimens for future generations in their present state of
to ITSD Project
Ayliffe (Photographer to the ITSD Project) with a taxidermy specimen in
the Leiden Museum of Natural History (Naturalis) in the Netherlands.
Natural history museums traditionally collect, classify, conserve, study
and exhibit biological specimen material. The value in creating these
collections is partially in the data that accompanies the specimens.
Without this information, the specimens' value to science is markedly degraded.
Taxonomy was the pioneering science of the nineteenth century, and to some
extent it galvanised the race to acquire as many new specimens as possible.
In this pursuit, valuable field data was frequently omitted, lost or destroyed.
Consequently, detail within the accession records for many of the thylacine
specimens is sparse to say the least. Only 51 specimens in the 5th
revision of the ITSD, or fewer than 7% of the total, have any location
specific provenance, with the bulk of catalogue entries simply noting the
locality of collection as Tasmania. This percentage will rise with
the research being undertaken for the 6th revision of the ITSD.
The vast majority of thylacine specimens (where the accession date is known)
were acquired by their respective institutions in the seventy-year period
from 1860 to 1930. A total of 28 specimens listed within the ITSD
are recorded prior to 1860, and 7 (excluding re-registrations) post-1930.