Temminck who finally included it in the genus Thylacinus. The thylacines had the appearance of a medium-sized dog, with dense, short, light brown fur and a stiff tail. They are easily distinguished from dogs by the stripes on their back, they have between 13 and 22 dark brown bands, but are similar in size, body structure, and dentition. However, they are marsupial animals, so their young are born at a very early stage of development and carried in a bag (the marsupium) like kangaroos. The marsupial wolf is a classic example of convergent evolution. He occupied the ecological niche in Australia that canids occupied in the Northern Hemisphere, for which he developed similar traits: sharp teeth, powerful jaws, raised heels and the same body shape. A characteristic feature of the thylacine, and unique among mammals, was the ability to open the jaw up to 80 degrees.

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They probably fed exclusively on meat, Solomon Islands Email List like the great canids. An anecdote that illustrates the similarity between the thylacine skull and that of a dog is told by the well-known British biologist Richard Dawkins in “The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution”. Dawkins says that Oxford University zoology students of his generation had to identify 100 specimens as part of the final exam. Word soon spread that if they ever found a dog skull, they had to identify it as thylacine, because something as obvious as a dog skull must be a lantern. But it so happened that one year the examiners did set a trap and put a real dog skull. The extinction of the thylacine constitutes, without any doubt, a black page in the history of the 20th century. On the night of September 7, 1936, Benjamin, the last known thylacine, died at Hobart Zoo (Tasmania). The circumstances surrounding his death,

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probably due to negligence, add further injury to his death. But the truth is that the last wild specimen had been found dead in a trap in 1933. And three years earlier one of the last thylacines still living in freedom had been hunted with a rifle. You have to go back to the end of the 19th century to understand the dramatic decline of this marsupial, in which the arrival of the settlers, with their sheep farms, their dogs and their firearms, had a decisive influence. Between 1888 and 1909 the Tasmanian government established a reward system whereby it paid one pound for each dead adult thylacine and ten shillings for a calf. As a consequence thousands of animals were exterminated; they were considered a threat to livestock. There is the paradox that a protection order was issued on July 10, 1936, 59 days before Benjamin died. What is now known is that the

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