Monday 10 September 2007

Did the dingo wipe out the Tasmanian Tiger

Scientists investigating the disappearance of the Tasmanian tiger from mainland Australia 3000 years ago have found damning evidence against a key suspect. It seems the dingo did it. It has long been suggested that the dingo out-competed the tiger (Thylacine) for food, and was a major factor in pushing the marsupial carnivore off mainland Australia.

The new analysis, which simulates the bite forces and stress patterns applying to dingo and thylacine skulls in the act of killing, confirms there would have been substantial overlap in their choice of prey.

The system gives a visual read-out. The "hotter" the colours appearing on the screen, the greater the mechanical stresses and strains being experienced by the skull, jaw, teeth and cranial muscles.

The team built sophisticated computer models of the animals' skulls to compare their feeding behaviour. The study showed that although the tiger was the bigger, more efficient biter, the dingo was better equipped to deal with prey that struggles.

The researchers say they may help explain why the tiger (Thylacine) disappeared. Nevertheless, Scientists stress that the tiger's removal from the mainland was not solely down to the dingo. Climate change, and a shift in Aboriginals' land-use and hunting practices would also have been factors.

The last tiger died in a Tasmanian zoo in 1936. Read the blog, watch the video but the song tracked with the video made me wonder what sounds the tiger may have made ?

via: BBC News
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