Scientists have been investigating the causes which drove the Tasmanian tiger to disappear from Australia, and obtained an interesting result. Until now, they used to blame dingoes for it, but it seems the species didn’t go extinct because of predatory activity. However, climate is the only one to blame here.
The Tasmanian tiger disappeared from Australia 3,000 years ago
The Tasmanian tiger is an interesting specimen. Once, it used to be quite a widespread species in Australia but, about 3,000 years ago, it suddenly went extinct. What is even more interesting is the fact that it didn’t disappear completely from Earth. The marsupial survived on the island of Tasmania for a longer time, and went extinct quite recently.
Humans contributed to the Tasmanian tiger’s extinction from Tasmania. In only 150 years, they managed to wipe out the species from the face of Earth through extreme hunting. The last specimen to survive died in 1936 in a zoo.
Climate was the main factor which drove the extinction
Fortunately, there are Tasmanian tiger bones kept in museums. This allowed researchers to collect DNA samples for the analysis. With it, they managed to build a comprehensive history of the species, and to track down its evolution throughout time. This is how they also managed to ponder on possible factors which drove their extinction in Australia. These factors include dingoes, Aboriginal populations, and harsh climatic conditions.
Although the Tasmanian tiger populations were thriving in Australia, they had to face some extreme conditions. The constant climatic oscillation pattern in the area made the species more vulnerable, and the massive draught that befell the continent turned into a bane for the marsupial species.
Researchers don’t want to rule out the dingo hypothesis completely, but they think climate was the main factor which brought the extinction. All the other details regarding the study have been published in the Journal of Biogeography.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons