The carnivorous marsupial thylacine, which was the largest of its kind in the modern era and is more commonly remembered as the “Tasmanian tiger,” fell into extinction 80 years ago or so researchers thought. Recent alleged sightings of the creature, however, have raised question as to whether they actually disappeared for good.
According to Seeker, scientists in Australia have launched new studies into the possibility of the thylacine still existing, despite there not exactly being concrete evidence of one having been sighted. Although the descriptions given by eyewitnesses indeed matched that of the “extinct” animal in question, all of them took place at night and therefore the issue had to be raised as to if vision was clear enough to properly identify the marsupial.
Bill Laurance, the co-investigator in the study, who is also a professor at the College of Science and Engineering at JCU, gave a statement detailing exactly what made researchers sure the descriptions given to them matched that of the thylacine. After cross-checking the physical attributes, such as body shape and size as well as eye shine-color against that of dingoes, other feral dogs or even wild pigs, it became obvious that these individuals were not mistaking it for a more common animal frequenting the outdoors. Their animal behavior was also taken into consideration when verifying these alleged sightings.
As reported by The Indian Express, the research survey conducted by Australian scientists will launch this month, and will include the use of 50 camera traps. The only thing standing in their way of finding out if the thylacine really do still exist is the acceptance of permits put in by the scientists shortly after the sightings were announced.
Regardless of whether the species will turn out to be extinct or not, the research opportunity will nevertheless allow for scientists to further look into other allegedly non-existent animals and find out whether they may still roam the planet. For those species proved to still be on earth, researchers will look into their vulnerability and their protected status when it comes to potential extinction.
The mammal species on Cape York, says Australia.gov.au, will be examined in regards to data being collected concerning wildlife population. This is due to the numbers of certain species declining heavily over the past several years, and the desire of scientists to discover exactly what the cause behind it was. In doing so, they are able to potentially slow the process and help preserve certain species for as long as possible.
By Lorelai Zelmerlow