- Initially, the Tasmanian tigers inhabited almost the entire territory of Australia, but about 2 thousand. years ago, these animals narrowed their range to Tasmania only
- People and dingoes contributed to the extinction of these predators
- The last known captive Tasmanian tiger died in 1936 in an Australian zoo
- Mouse-sized marsupials – Australian Fat Tails – are to help restore the Tasmanian tiger species.
- You can find more such information on the Onet homepage
Tasmanian tigers, also known as marsupial wolves, were the largest carnivorous marsupials in the world. These predators were on average 110 cm long and a tail that was about 50 cm. Their weight was usually over 30 kg. The tigers were fawn in color, with 13 to 19 transverse stripes. Initially, these marsupials inhabited almost the entire territory of Australia, but about 2,000. years ago, when more and more people appeared on the island, the animals narrowed their range to Tasmania. Their presence in the ecosystem was a problem for dingo dogs and settlers, who killed them massively for years. The last known captive Tasmanian tiger died in 1936 at the Hobart Zoo, Tasmania.
The idea of recreating the population of the Tasmanian tiger appeared in the 1990s. However, its implementation was not allowed by the technology available at that time. Now, almost 90 years after the death of the last known marsupial wolf, a group of scientists from the University of Melbourne in collaboration with the biotechnology company Colossal Bioscience, she has created a blueprint for this to succeed.
The project will involve several complex stages, which will involve the use of state-of-the-art technologies. To begin with, the team will construct a detailed genome of the extinct animal and match it with that of its closest living relative, the Australian-sized carnivorous mice. This will allow researchers to identify the differences.
Then we take the living cells of our fattail and edit their DNA wherever it differs from the Tasmanian tiger. Basically, we’re going to process a fat tail cell to become a wolf-tail cell
– explained Prof. Andrew Pask of the University of Melbourne, quoted by CNN.
When a team of scientists successfully programs a new cell with Australian fat-tailed cats, it will transform it into a live animal. The small size of the relative of the Tasmanian tiger does not interfere with the research of scientists. As prof. Pask, all marsupials give birth to small cubs, so they will certainly help restore the extinct species, at least in the initial stages.
The Tasmanian Tiger Recovery Plan is not the only such initiative undertaken by Colossal Bioscience. The company is also working to restore the woolly mammoth species. The ambitious project is valued at $ 15 million.
Our ultimate goal is to return these species to the wild, where they played absolutely essential roles in the ecosystem. Therefore, our hope is that someday we will be able to see baggy wolves again in the Tasmanian bush
– said prof. Belt.
The team has yet to set an end date for the project. However, scientists expect that it will take less time to restore a Tasmanian tiger than to restore a woolly mammoth. This is because elephants whose cells are to be used in the process of involving a larger animal take much longer to become pregnant than do fat-tailed elephants. The first baggy wolves could be reintroduced into the wild in Australia in about 10 years.
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