Temporal range: Oligocene–Holocene
|Thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus)|
|Genus:||† Thylacinus |
All extinct, see text
Thylacinus is a genus of extinct carnivorous marsupials from the order Dasyuromorphia. The only recent member was the thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), commonly also known as the Tasmanian tiger or Tasmanian wolf, which became extinct in 1936 due to excessive hunting by humans. Other prehistoric species are known from this genus. An unidentified species is known from Pleistocene New Guinea.[ citation needed ]
Below is a phylogeny by Yates (2015) on the relationships of Thylacinus.
The thylacine, now extinct, is one of the largest known carnivorous marsupials, evolving about 4 million years ago. The last known live animal was captured in 1933 in Tasmania. It is commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger because of its striped lower back, or the Tasmanian wolf because of its canid-like characteristics. It was native to Tasmania, New Guinea, and the Australian mainland.
Dasyuromorphia is an order comprising most of the Australian carnivorous marsupials, including quolls, dunnarts, the numbat, the Tasmanian devil, and the thylacine. In Australia, the exceptions include the omnivorous bandicoots and the marsupial moles. Numerous South American species of marsupials are also carnivorous, as were some extinct members of the order Diprotodontia, including extinct kangaroos and thylacoleonids, and some members of the partially extinct clade Metatheria and all members of the extinct superorder Sparassodonta.
Thylacinidae is an extinct family of carnivorous, superficially dog-like marsupials from the order Dasyuromorphia. The only species to survive into modern times was the thylacine, which became extinct in 1936.
Riversleigh World Heritage Area is Australia's most famous fossil location, recognised for the series of well preserved fossils deposited from the Late Oligocene to more recent geological periods. The fossiliferous limestone system is located near the Gregory River in the north-west of Queensland, an environment that was once a very wet rainforest that became more arid as the Gondwanan land masses separated and the Australian continent moved north. The approximately 100 square kilometres (39 sq mi) area has fossil remains of ancient mammals, birds, and reptiles of the Oligocene and Miocene ages, many of which were discovered and are only known from the Riversleigh area; the species that have occurred there are known as the Riversleigh fauna.
The International Thylacine Specimen Database (ITSD) is the culmination of a four-year research project to catalogue and digitally photograph all known surviving specimen material of the thylacine held within museum, university, and private collections.
Certainly in my experience this is by far the most thorough compilation focused on an extinct or endangered animal ever produced and, as such, bound to be enormously useful to many generations of scientists to come.
In Australian folklore, the Queensland tiger is a creature said to live in the Queensland area in eastern Australia.
Nimbacinus dicksoni was an ancient thylacine a distant relative of the modern but extinct thylacinid known as the Tasmanian tiger. It lived approximately 23-16 million years ago in the Miocene period. Nimbacinus dicksoni was about 1.6 ft (50 cm) long. Being a predator, it likely ate birds, small mammals, and reptiles. Like the modern thylacine, it may have been an awkward runner and used stamina to catch prey rather than speed. Fossils have been found in Australia at Riversleigh in north-western Queensland and Bullock Creek in the Northern Territory.
Thylacinus potens was the largest species of the family Thylacinidae, originally known from a single poorly preserved fossil discovered by Michael O. Woodburne in 1967 in a Late Miocene locality near Alice Springs, Northern Territory. It preceded the most recent species of thylacine by 4–6 million years, and was 5% bigger, was more robust and had a shorter, broader skull. Its size is estimated to be similar to that of a grey wolf; the head and body together were around 5 feet long, and its teeth were less adapted for shearing compared to those of the now-extinct thylacine.
Thylacoleonidae is a family of extinct meat-eating marsupials from Australia, referred to as marsupial lions. The best known is Thylacoleo carnifex, also called the marsupial lion. The clade ranged from the Late Oligocene to the Pleistocene, with some species the size of a possum and others as large as a leopard. As a whole, they were largely arboreal, in contrast to the mostly terrestrial dasyuromorphs, monitor lizards and mekosuchines.
Cynocephalus may refer to;
The genus Nimbacinus contains two species of carnivorous, quadrupedal marsupials in Australia both of which are extinct:
Thylacinus megiriani lived during the late Miocene, 8 million years ago; the area T. megiriani inhabited in the Northern Territory was covered in forest with a permanent supply of water.
Mutpuracinus archibaldi is an extinct carnivorous, quadrupedal marsupial that lived during the middle Miocene and is the smallest known thylacinid at approximately 1.1 kilograms, the size of a quoll, though, more closely related to the recently extinct thylacine.
Ngamalacinus timmulvaneyi lived during the early Miocene and has been found in Riversleigh.
Wabulacinus ridei lived during the early Miocene in Riversleigh. It is named after David Ride, who made the first revision of thylacinid fossils. The material was found in system C of the Camel Spurtum assembledge.
Thylacoleo hilli lived during the Pliocene and was half the size of Thylacoleo crassidentatus.
Joculusium muizoni is a fossil species discovered at the Riversleigh World Heritage Area. Little is known about the animal.
Thylacinus yorkellus is a fossil species of carnivorous marsupial, a sister species of the recently extinct Thylacinus cynocephalus, the Tasmanian tiger, both of which existed on mainland Australia.
William D. Turnbull (1922-2011) was an American paleontologist, associated with the Chicago Field Museum. His special interest in mammals saw him publish over a hundred papers, continuing after his retirement as curator of mammals at the Museum. He undertook field work in Australia, searching for evidence of recently extinct species, and frequently made expeditions to sites at the Washakie Formation in southwest Wyoming. Special credit is given to his studies in the paleontology and biogeography of dinosaurs and Eocene mammals.
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