Tasmanian tiger’s mystery – Uncovered
Since the last known surviving Tasmanian tiger died in the Tasmanian zoo in 1936, the animal has been in the list of extinct animal for the past 73 years. Little was understood about the family line of the animal until recent studies are conducted to uncover the unknown.
With the advancement in DNA technology, researchers are finally able to fully mapped the DNA sequence of Tasmanian tigers. This in terms could help researchers in understanding family line of the animal, as well as providing information relating to the process of their extinction. The Tasmanian tiger, also called the thylacine, is believed to have been in the path of extinction much earlier. According to Webb Miller, who led the study, the thylacines were eliminated from mainland Australia as early as 3,000 years ago due to the competition from dingos. By 1930s, bounties were introduced to curb thylacine’s predation on sheep. Eventually, a deadly disease caused their population to plunge in the 1900 to 1910.
DNA sequencing by Miller and his team discovered that there is an ultra-low genetic diversity in thylacine. The DNA analysis also affirmed thylacine as being a species crossed between a dog and a tiger. However, it was a marsupial more closely related to insect-eaters called numbats, and a distance relative to kangaroos and koalas.