Tasmanian Tiger pup helps scientists in forming genes of extinct species
Melbourne : Scientists have formed the nuclear DNA of already extinct Tasmanian Tiger with the help of preserved fossils of a pub in alcohol.
Officially Earth lost its last Tasmanian tiger in September 1936 when Benjamin, the last known thylacine, died in captivity. However, there have been several reports claiming sighting of the animal but only without any proof.
Now, the scientists have found a complete 'genome' DNA of the specie that could bring them back to life.
According to a study published in 'Nature Ecology and Evolution', the scientists have finally been able to obtain the complete nuclear genome of the thylacine species, revealing an impressive amount about the creature’s ancestry.
The study also reveals that the dog-like marsupial was only very loosely related to modern day canines, having shared a common ancestor some 160 million years ago. It was an incredibly special animal, and a branch of the evolutionary tree that stood out on its own.
“They were this bizarre and singular species. There was nothing else like them in the world at the time,” one of the researchers, Charles Feigin of the University of Melbourne, Australia, explains. “They look just like a dog or wolf, but they’re a marsupial.”
The nuclear genome has been obtained with the help of a thylacine pup body that was preserved using alcohol after his death over a century ago.
The genome will not only help scientists in discovering the past of the specie, but will also enable them to shape up a potential future.
Though humans were undoubtedly responsible for its demise in the first place. The species, which was already show signs of struggling when the Australian continent was settled en masse, was pushed to extinction on the mainland but thrived on Tasmania. There, farmers put bounties on the tiger for fear that it would attack sheep, and hunters ruthlessly wiped them out, with only a few captive animals remaining in zoos until those eventually died, too.