Tasmanian tigers, also known as thylacines, were mercilessly hunted to extinction to save sheep, but a new study revealed that the carnivore’s jaws were too weak to kill sheep.
Closer examination of the iconic thylacine's jaws showed that they were not able to tackle anything much larger than a possum.
The study claims that a thylacine would not have been capable of clamping down on sheep’s throat to suffocate it, which is necessary to kill a prey.
The findings published in the Journal of Zoology states it was the Tasmanian tigers’ inability to kill larger prey, and the loss of habitat that played a vital role in its extinction.
Eventually, Tasmanian government came to thylacines’ rescue, but by then it was far too late. Tasmanian tigers became extinct in 1936.
Lead researcher Marie Attard, of University of New South Wales, said, “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.”
Thursday marks the 75th death anniversary of the last thylacine, named Ben, which was kept at Hobart Zoo in Tasmania, out of reach of hunters.
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