The Tasmanian tiger (thylacine) was a beautiful carnivorous marsupial that went extinct in the 1930s in part due to human hunting and encroachment on the animal's natural habitats. (To this day though, people report occasional sightings in the region.) There are a handful of film clips of the Thylacine shot at the Beaumaris zoo and the London zoo and now researchers from the Tasmanian Tiger Archives Facebook Group collaborating with the State Library and Archive uncovered this additional footage seen above.
More about the Thylacine at the Australian Museum.
Also, enjoy this terrific New Yorker feature from 2018 by Brooke Jarvis: "The Obsessive Search for the Tasmanian Tiger."
(via The Anomalist) Read the rest
I've always understood Australia to be a nightmare hellscape full of crazy killer creatures. But that's only because I hadn't heard about the quokka. This teddy bear-sized marsupial lives on the islands off the mainland of Australia, and they're just — I mean — look at this thing!
It's basically a non-cannibalistic Ewok, and apparently they're known for being friendly as hell (also exceptionally horny), earning them the distinction of the "happiest animal in the world." Though it's illegal to touch one, they're allegedly super-down with selfies, too.
I would brave any Australian beast just to be best friends with one of these lil' fellas.
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Quolls are marsupials native to Tasmania and Australia, though very few live in the wild in Australia due to decimation by foxes and feral cats. Perhaps the cutest pics are from Craig Borrow of the Herald Sun: Read the rest
If your "aww" reflexes don't fire after seeing these images, you should get your heart checked.
As we established last week, biology is freaking crazy.
Here's more proof. For this, you don't even need to go to exotic Australia. The common American opossum produces a protein called Lethal Toxin-Neutralizing Factor (LTNF). This protein does pretty much what the name implies—seeking out potentially deadly poisons and neutralizing them. The benefit: Opossums are all-but immune to the venom of poisonous snakes. (Including the venom of snakes native to continents where the common American opossum does not live.) But it gets weirder, as Jason Bittel explains on the BittelMeThis blog:
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So they took some rats and injected them with LTNF, then pumped them full of otherwise lethal doses of venom from Thailand cobras, Australian taipans, Brazilian rattlesnakes, scorpions and honeybees. But the rats just laughed in their faces.
“Dude,” said one scientist, “we have to kill these rats. Do you watch AMC’s Breaking Bad?” The other scientists nodded of course because everybody watches Breaking Bad. So next they tried to kill the rats with ricin, an extremely lethal poison made from castor beans. (How lethal? Just ask Georgi Markov, the real-life Bulgarian defector killed by a ricin umbrella gun. That’s right, I said ricin umbrella gun.)
Alas, the ricin was a no-go. The now-snooty rats danced Ring Around the Rosie.
“That’s it!” screeched the lead scientist. “It’s time to release the botulinum toxin. Surely this will conquer the awkward opossum’s super serum!” But after many maniacal laughs and a few bolts of lightning, the rats were still alive.
(The paper does not mention what became of the super rats.