Item of the Month: February 2017


Thylacine skull.  Thylacinus cynocephalus (Harris, 1808)
TUZ 903652
Dimensions: length 15 cm, width 8,7 cm, height 7,4 cm

The thylacine was a carnivorous marsupial. It is one of the best known mammals to have become extinct as a result of human activity. The thylacine’s historic range was mainland Australia and New Guinea, but by the time of European colonization in the 18th century, it was reduced to the island of Tasmania. An adult thylacine measured from 85 to 130 cm long, stood 60 cm at the shoulder and weighed from 15 to 30 kg. Its yellow-grey fur was short and featured dark brown stripes across the animal's lower back. Because of the stripes, it was also called the Tasmanian tiger.

The thylacine was a nocturnal creature that roamed the open land, yet the last groups sought shelter in thick rainforests, since they were being exterminated by Tasmanian sheep farmers who sought to protect their herds. The last captive thylacine was caught from the wild in 1933 and died three years later in a zoo. Only mounted specimens and skeletons can now be seen in museums.

The project is curated by Inge Kukk
The project is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia