could not be located and are presumed to no longer exist. Of
the ten extant specimens, a male in the collection of Museum Victoria was
sectioned for microscopy in 1994, and now exists as a series of microscopy
slides. Of the nine remaining specimens, three are in the collection
of Museum Victoria in Melbourne, one in the Australian Museum in Sydney,
and five in the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery in Hobart.
Without doubt, the single
most important discovery in the 5th revision of the ITSD was the location
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 (DZCU 8021 [1-4]). The pouch young were described
for the first time by Sleightholme, Robovský & Vohralík
in a paper entitled: "Description of four newly discovered thylacine
pouch young and a comparison with Boardman (1945)", published in the
Australian Zoologist in December 2012. They are the only known wet
specimens of pouch young outside of Australia, and the earliest in terms
of their morphology, with an estimated age of less than 2 weeks.
The discovery of the Charles University specimens provides researchers
with a valuable insight into the early development of the thylacine, and
brings the total of known pouch young in collections to 14 (16 if we include
the missing Cornell specimens).
Osteological remains are by far the most durable of all specimen types.
Sixty-four percent of thylacine specimens are skeletal, with skulls predictably
forming the bulk of this material. There are 322 skulls recorded
in the ITSD, 310 of which are complete with mandibles. Of the 103
skeletons listed, there are 29 complete and 5 incomplete wired mounts,
and 50 complete and 19 incomplete loose boxed skeletons. The remainder
of the skeletal material is comprised of individual loose bones.
Skeletal mounts, although important in demonstrating the visual relationship
between specific bones and joints, are not as valuable to researchers as
stored unarticulated bones.
pouch young (DZCU 8021 [1-4]). Courtesy: Dept. Zoology, Charles University.
Photo: Jan Robovský.