Artificially colored images show what the last Tasmanian tiger looked like – SoCientífica

The last Tasmanian tiger was named Benjamin, and he died in 1936 in a zoo in Australia. However, in 1933 naturalist David Fleay recorded one of the few videos of one of these animals, before being bitten on the buttocks. Now experts have reproduced the rare footage (originally in black and white) in color.

According to Samuel François-Steininger, responsible for editing the historical footage, the entire work took more than 200 hours. According to Steininger, the project was quite difficult because many parts of the animal’s fur had to be colored manually, despite the resources available from artificial intelligences.

Check out the result in the video below:

The restoration work on footage of the last Tasmanian tiger was part of a tribute to September 7th. Not for Brazil’s independence, of course. It turns out that in Australia, September 7th is the National Day of Endangered Species, precisely the day that the Tasmanian tiger Benjamin died, in 1936.

Tasmanian Tiger Extinction

Tasmanian tigers were hunters, reaching up to 35kg. Besides, these animals weren’t really tigers, nor wolves, nor dogs. It turns out that the thylacine (another name for these animals) were marsupials, including the largest hunting marsupials known.

In other words, like kangaroos, the Tasmanian tiger carried its young in a bag, since the placentas of marsupials are not fully functional, and the development of the fetus needs to continue largely after birth.

Many reports claim recent sightings of Tasmanian tigers, but no confirmed data. This is because everything indicates that these animals really became extinct in the 1930s, mainly due to human activity, in addition to other factors. Many other Australian animals, unfortunately, followed the same path as the Tasmanian tiger.

It turns out that Australia has been in the last thousands of years a unique region for the formation of new species and also for the existence of endemic species. That is, many animals, such as platypus, do not exist anywhere else outside of Oceania. The same was true for the thylacines.

Thus, when a threat appears in the environment (humans, in this case), endemic species can end up extinct much more easily than those more widely spread across the planet.

The laborious reconstruction of the images, therefore, recalls the beauty of one of the recently extinct species, still in the 20th century. Furthermore, this prehistoric-looking marsupial shows, by its absence on the planet, how we humans have changed the environment and impacted biodiversity in such a drastic way.