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GreenHeart
Sunday, November 14th, 2004, 03:09 PM
http://www.thesupernaturalworld.co.uk/newsimages/tasmaniantiger.jpg

http://www.thesupernaturalworld.co.uk/index.php?act=main&code=01&type=00&topic_id=1454


A mysterious predator in a far-off corner of the world, hunted to extinction decades ago, has emerged as the central character in what is likely to be a prolonged and bitter scientific debate. The Tasmanian Tiger, which wasn't really a tiger, is being asked to answer questions of staggering implications. Is it possible to bring extinct species back to life through cloning? And if we can, should we? This is not an academic exercise. The prestigious Australian Museum, under the directorship of Mike Archer, has vowed to do just that, using DNA from animals that have been dead for more than a century. Some say it can't be done. Archer himself says he isn't sure, claiming that success would be the "biological equivalent of the first walk on the moon." The effort has taken on almost religious overtones, modern humans seeking a way to atone for the sins of their forefathers. Or as Archer puts it, it's a chance to "redress our immoral actions when we willfully and wrongly exterminated this animal." Cloning the tiger would require so many scientific breakthroughs that success would be a "technological miracle," Archer maintains, and others agree.

"It would be a miraculous birth, a clone from aged DNA," writes David Owen, author of Tasmanian Tiger, The Tragic Tale of How the World Lost its Most Mysterious Predator, recently released by The Johns Hopkins University Press. Owen, a Tasmanian novelist, has chronicled the plight of the tiger from the years when it roamed across much of Australia and the southern island state of Tasmania to the present. It has reached a mythical status with sightings still being reported despite convincing evidence that the beast no longer survives.

But as Owen meticulously points out, all the hoopla over the possibly of cloning an extinct animal may just make it easier for us to ignore the desperate need to protect the habitat of endangered species that are barely hanging on.

The lead character in this ongoing drama is a strange beast indeed. The Tasmanian Tiger is actually a marsupial, with a pouch to carry its young. It has also been called a wolf, a dog and a hyena, but its lineage is clearly revealed in its kangaroo-like hind quarters, and the shape of its ears and muzzle, as well as the pouch. It is about the size of a Dalmatian.

It is officially named "thylacine," and it is the largest carnivorous marsupial known in modern times. But most references still call it a tiger.

Killed by Reputation

Its end began thousands of years ago when humans introduced dogs to Australia. Wild dogs competed with the tigers for food, and the tigers gradually disappeared from mainland Australia. They thrived in the rugged terrain of Tasmania for centuries, but in the 1800s they found themselves accused of killing sheep, an economic crime that the people of that era could not tolerate.

There's precious little evidence to support that, Owen argues. It's far more likely that sheep were killed by wild dogs, not tigers that avoided human contact. But by then the animal's reputation was established as a vicious killer with a vampire's taste for blood and internal organs. It was a thrill killer, according to the legends of the day, sometimes wiping out entire flocks of sheep just to watch them die.

In 1886 the Tasmanian government passed a law that mandated the destruction of the species, and bounties for dead tigers led to feverish hunting expeditions over the next 50 years. The only known surviving tigers ended up in zoos, despite a gradual awakening to the fact that the tiger was not a demon and should be protected.

In 1936 legislation was passed by the parliament declaring the tiger to be wholly protected, but it was too late. Two months later, the last known survivor died in a Tasmanian zoo.

Myths about the tiger continued to grow, with frequent reports of sightings in the wild, but little evidence to support them. Owen has documented eight official expeditions between 1957 and 1966 in search of remaining tigers.

"What they had in common was justified optimism at the outset and negative results at the end," he writes.

So does the tiger still thrive somewhere in the dense forests of Tasmania, as so many residents claim? The museum's Archer describes himself as "sadly unconvinced. Without a single hair, dropping or any tangible evidence, I have to remain skeptical."

Tiger From a Jar?

Extinct species have long fascinated Archer, and his courting of the tiger began about 15 years ago when he discovered a pickled tiger pup in the museum. It had been preserved since 1866 in a jar of alcohol rather than the more commonly used formalin, which would have destroyed the DNA.

That was long before Dolly ruled the headlines but even then Archer began thinking about bringing the tiger back.

But its one thing to clone a living species, with an abundance of specimens from which DNA can be extracted, and it's quite another to create a clone from ancient DNA. In all, museum researchers have extracted DNA from three different preserved tigers, but that still leaves enormous gaps in the animal's genome.

The last step in this long and tortured scientific journey will be to put a complete set of the tiger's chromosomes in a living cell, and implant that cell in another animal, probably the closely related Tasmanian devil, which would serve as a surrogate mother.

But in the end, even if it all works, that may not be enough. Owen notes that no tigers reproduced while in captivity, and any cloned animals would likely be quite different from those that once roamed across Tasmania.

The museum has targeted the year 2010 for completion of the project. Even if it fails, Archer maintains, it should lead to numerous scientific breakthroughs, possibly paving the way for cloning extinct animals sometime in the future.

The nightmare in that dream, of course, is that the prospect for cloning might lead to a relaxation of the effort to protect species that are still living.

Uncounted thousands of species have perished at human hands. Bringing the tiger back would be thrilling, but it won't lift that burden. Protecting what we have left must remain our first priority.

http://www.thesupernaturalworld.co.uk/index.php?act=main&code=01&type=00&topic_id=1454

http://www.forums.skadi.net/newthread.php?do=newthread&f=51#

Constantinus
Sunday, November 14th, 2004, 03:17 PM
I'm all for it. Ten thumbs up from Stan.

GreenHeart
Sunday, November 14th, 2004, 03:29 PM
Who knows? Maybe they'll find a way to bring them back and people will be able keep them as pets... :biggrin:

Constantinus
Sunday, November 14th, 2004, 03:49 PM
I'd prefer a mammoth over these stupid carnivorous canguroos. Still, it'd be good. Hunting species to extinction is just wrong, and it should be corrected if possible.

Mistress Klaus
Tuesday, December 7th, 2004, 01:16 PM
:frown: I don't like this cloning business....Trying to correct past idiocy & selfishness caused by humans is pathetic & will only prove to be disastarous for the animal/s future. (Just as evil as the extinction in the first place).

I recently saw this guy on a documentary whose life-long dream was to see the great prehistoric Saber toothed Tiger brought back through cloning. (had all the circus-like cages ready for it.. :suomut: ...bastard..). Scientists saying if only they could get a specimen with enough sufficient DNA...then they could use a lioness has the host mother (womb)...How disgusting!...and when baby Saber grows those lovely huge teeth...what then?......everybody run!...(It would have to be keep in captivity for the rest of its life.. :suomut: )

They are also trying for the Woolly mammoth.... :frown:

Is there no limit to mankinds stupidity?..

Mistress Klaus
Tuesday, December 7th, 2004, 01:47 PM
I'd prefer a mammoth over these stupid carnivorous canguroos. Still, it'd be good. Hunting species to extinction is just wrong, and it should be corrected if possible.


:mad: No animal on this earth is stupid (except perhaps the 1 species who thinks it rules supreme and has no understanding of the balance in the eco system :rolleyes: ...).

The Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) was hunted down without mercy & from a greed to protect their introduced livestock. The last known Thylacine died a miserable death in a Hobart zoo in 1936. :frown:

Shame! (http://www.delm.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/BHAN-53777B?open)

Naggaroth
Tuesday, December 7th, 2004, 02:06 PM
Why be negative to reborn tasmanian tigers? Because they died long time ago? Well, I disagree in beeing negative to this. I think that it is quite good to make a new pair of tasmanian tigers. That would infact make the ecosystem better.

Mistress Klaus
Tuesday, December 7th, 2004, 02:24 PM
Why be negative to reborn tasmanian tigers? Because they died long time ago? Well, I disagree in beeing negative to this. I think that it is quite good to make a new pair of tasmanian tigers. That would infact make the ecosystem better.

Genetically, I think it would be unwise. There is already problems with inbred stock with Zebra's...(due to the limited numbers left after past hunting...Just one example...and cloning as nothing to do with it..the numbers of different diverse genetic families/groups are just too sparse)
How can a healthy new breed of any cloned animal be achieved? Defects have appeared in the sheep they have cloned...it still is not 100% reliable. The apparent future inbreeding would lead to horrific consequence.

I still say cloning is wrong.

Constantinus
Wednesday, December 8th, 2004, 11:23 AM
I agree that the technology isn't good enough to make healthy clones, but that will change. I say it is morally wrong not to correct your sins if you are able to do so. This animal didn't die out because evolution made it obsolete, but because of human interference. That's not the same as with a sabertooth tiger.

Although, wouldn't you take your kids to a prehistoric pettingzoo? They can pet the sabertoothtigers and ride woolly mammoths. :D

Vanir
Friday, March 18th, 2005, 05:01 AM
I believe they have one teste left of a developed embryo or pup (IIRC) the first was destroyed several years ago in a failed attempt to clone it.

To hijack the thread somewhat though, Thylacines are not extinct IMHO.

I have been on one trip with a friend to Gippsland/Wilson's Promontory to try to find evidence (scat, fur, prints, or hopefully a photo) but had no luck (but the fishing was good:))

In Gippsland in Victoria, along with many parts of Tasmania, sightings are extremely common.

If you could see Tasmania with your own eyes you'd be able to see how a Thylacine could still live there undisturbed. Alot of Tasmania is untouched , impenetrable wilderness.

Another extinct beast, rumoured to still exist in small isolated pockets is the Marsupial Lion, or Thylacoleo Carnifex. Children are warned to lookout for "Dropbears" (in the vein of "scary monster") which is, I think, something of a folk memory of these creatures...
http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/naracoorte/wonambi/animals/extinct/thylacoleo.html
From what I understand fossils have been found from about 10000 years ago, or even more recent. They'd sit up in a tree in a branch overhanging a trail (or similar) and literally drop onto the back of any potential meal that walked underneath them.

And then there are Yowies, relic Gigantopithecus Blackii I suppose, that are apparently/allegedly running around Australia. A tale for another day though...

It is a strange island continent this land I live in...

Schutz_Staffeln
Saturday, March 19th, 2005, 07:46 AM
I believe they have one teste left of a developed embryo or pup (IIRC) the first was destroyed several years ago in a failed attempt to clone it.

To hijack the thread somewhat though, Thylacines are not extinct IMHO.

I have been on one trip with a friend to Gippsland/Wilson's Promontory to try to find evidence (scat, fur, prints, or hopefully a photo) but had no luck (but the fishing was good:))

In Gippsland in Victoria, along with many parts of Tasmania, sightings are extremely common.

If you could see Tasmania with your own eyes you'd be able to see how a Thylacine could still live there undisturbed. Alot of Tasmania is untouched , impenetrable wilderness.

Another extinct beast, rumoured to still exist in small isolated pockets is the Marsupial Lion, or Thylacoleo Carnifex. Children are warned to lookout for "Dropbears" (in the vein of "scary monster") which is, I think, something of a folk memory of these creatures...
http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/naracoorte/wonambi/animals/extinct/thylacoleo.html
From what I understand fossils have been found from about 10000 years ago, or even more recent. They'd sit up in a tree in a branch overhanging a trail (or similar) and literally drop onto the back of any potential meal that walked underneath them.

And then there are Yowies, relic Gigantopithecus Blackii I suppose, that are apparently/allegedly running around Australia. A tale for another day though...

It is a strange island continent this land I live in...


Well having visited alot of Tasmania and country Victoria i would have to agree anything is possible in the mountains of the west coast near Queenstown or Zeehan.....
and in Victoria theres places like Walhalla ;) hmm wonder what that place it named after. heheheheheh

Though i dont feel we should bring back animals that nuture destroyed i do feel however that we should atleast repair some of the damage done to the ecosystem of the planet....... whats next i wonder? the Dodo?
:icon_lol:

Vanir
Saturday, March 26th, 2005, 03:06 PM
Well having visited alot of Tasmania and country Victoria i would have to agree anything is possible in the mountains of the west coast near Queenstown or Zeehan.....
and in Victoria theres places like Walhalla ;) hmm wonder what that place it named after. heheheheheh

Though i dont feel we should bring back animals that nuture destroyed i do feel however that we should atleast repair some of the damage done to the ecosystem of the planet....... whats next i wonder? the Dodo?
:icon_lol:

Ha! A fellow Aussie! I've been to Walhalla, my mates still go bush-bashing up there from time to time...