Few animals in Australia arouse such fascination as the Tasmanian tiger (thylacine). The irony is that it’s extinct. Probably. The peculiar, dog-like marsupial, which had a rigid tail, stripes and a backwards-opening pouch, was hunted out of existence by sheep farmers fearful for their stock and encouraged by a bounty put on the creature’s head from 1888 to 1909. The last animal is supposed to have died in Hobart zoo in 1936. Yet thylacine sightings are still reported; ask around in remote areas of the northwest and southwest and someone will tell you they’ve seen one. And although Sydney’s Australian Museum shelved plans to resurrect the species using DNA from pickled specimens in May 2005, a research team at Pennsylvania University successfully sequenced the genetic data in 2008.

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