Cancer threatens Tasmanian Devils with extinction by "devil facial tumour disease"


17 Responses to “Cancer threatens Tasmanian Devils with extinction by "devil facial tumour disease"”

  1. Tony Gracyk says: 

    Radiolab did an episode on this a while back that is very interesting b/c it starts to hone in on the question of what constitutes life.

  2. Frank Diekman says:

    New band name: “devil facial tumour disease”

  3. Abie says:

    On the subject, I recommand this excellent feature article od Harper’s:”The Evolution of a killer” by David Quammen

    He ever gives a few rare and terrifying examples of cancer transmission in humans:

  4. Jil Wrinkle says:

    Why can’t people who write about Tasmanian Devils put up an actual photo of a Tasmanian Devil instead of the cartoon character?

  5. shana logic! says:

    I’m actually a sponsor for and they are working super hard on preventing this disease – they have an entire island where they are breeding healthy devils! Check it out:-)

  6. wysinwyg says:

    This is happening because Tasmanian devils are so crazy inbred they have basically the same immune system AND because they bite each others faces as a form of flirting.  Much like pandas and koalas*, I think these guys were already dead-ending long before human beings started the eighth great extinction.

    *Yeah, they’re cute — but neither species is cut out for long-term survival.  Deal with it.

    • waetherman says:

      This will teach them to stop biting each other. Darwin-style.

    • Jerril says:

       Devils genetic diversity wasn’t hot, but the last big great chokepoint was caused by humans, and was VERY recent. This means in turn that there hasn’t been much genetic drift/mutation since the chokepoint, so they’re still great mutual transplant candidates…

      They weren’t great, but we SHOVED them, we didn’t just give them a poke.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

      “but neither species is cut out for long-term survival.  Deal with it.”

      Same thing was said about some groups of people during WWII

  7. mister stick says:

    er, hpv?

  8. humanresource says:

    If you care, donate to protect the last forest in Tasmania where the devils remain unaffected. Currently, only 5% of the Tarkine Wilderness is listed as a national park, and both major parties want to put in new mines, logging roads and all the rest. 

    • Travelling in Tasmania recently I got the impression that their forests have a bad case of male pattern baldness. From the road you may think there is forest everywhere but then you start to see empty spots only a hundred metres into the forest or so. In fact a lot of it has been harvested.

  9. at some point, that cancer is going to hit a compatible target, and the female that started the whole mess is going to be reconstituted… mission accomplished, at that point?

Leave a Reply