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No. 69: May-Jun 1990

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Extinction Discounted

"A computer analysis has left little doubt that the supposedly extinct Tasmanian tiger or wolf still exists in remote areas of Australia's island state."

The thylacine (or Tasmanian wolf or tiger)
The thylacine (or Tasmanian wolf or tiger) has been reported repeatedly in recently years.
The last captive specimen of the marsupial tiger or thylacine died in a Tasmanian zoo in 1936. No living specimen has been verified since, but sporadic reports persist in Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia.

H. Nix, of the Australian National University's Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, has a computer program based upon detailed descriptions of climatic, topographic, and environmental factors that identifies areas where a particular animal or plant could flourish. Nix gathered the environmen tal requirements of the thylacine from records of where they had been shot and trapped in the past. This plus the computer program allowed Nix to identify prime thylacine territory. Compar-ing this information with the best sightings over the past 60 years, Nix found perfect agreement. In other words, post-extinction reports of thylacines come from just those areas where one would expect them to!

(Anonymous; "Computers Help to Hunt the Tasmanian Tiger," New Scientist, p. 24, March 10, 1990.)

Comment. This all sounds a bit tauto logical; that is, like "circular reasoning"!

Reference. The possible late survival of the thylacine is covered in BMD12 in our catalog volume: Biological Anomalies: Mammals II. To order, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #69, MAY-JUN 1990. 1990-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987