Image of a shot thylacine and thylacine cubs via Wikipedia
Scientists, with the help of computer software, recently discovered that the now-extinct Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, wasn’t the sheep-killer that ranchers made them out to be. Via the BBC:
This digital “crash test” revealed that thylacine’s jaws were simply too weak to have brought down an adult sheep.
“If a large carnivore – like a big cat for example – wants to take down a big prey item, it has to clamp down on its throat and suffocate it,” said Dr Wroe.
“A thylacine wouldn’t have been capable of this.”
The digital “crash test” revealed the weak points in thylacine’s jaws
Dr Wroe also explained that thylacine’s teeth were “built for slicing” rather than for crushing bone.
Comparing its skull performance with closely related, living species with known diets, the scientists were able to predict the likely body size of its prey.
“It probably fed on small animals, such as possums,” said Dr Wroe. “And its limited diet would have made it more vulnerable to extinction.”
. . .
“The terrible loss of the thylacine signifies unjustified, negligent destruction of our native flora and fauna. It is a cautionary reminder of what we have lost, and that without urgent intervention other species will suffer the same fate.”