(order Marsupialia, superfamily Dasyuroidea)
A monospecific family (Thylacinus cynocephalus, the thylacine or marsupial (Tasmanian) ‘wolf’ or ‘tiger’), which is a highly specialized carnivore bearing many similarities to the Borhyaenoidea of S. America, due almost certainly to convergence (see convergent evolution). Probably the species shares a common ancestry with the Dasyuridae; recently discovered fossils from the Miocene of Riversleigh, Queensland, demonstrate this common ancestry. Thylacines were present in New Guinea and Australia during the Pleistocene, but in modern times became restricted to Tasmania and today they are believed to be extinct, the last known specimen having died at Beaumaris Zoo, Hobart, on 7 September 1936. Subse-quent reports of sightings have not been confirmed.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.