Isolation Doomed the Tasmanian Tiger

The enigmatic Tasmanian tiger has, in essence, spoken from the grave, revealing why this dog-resembling marsupial went extinct and why Tasmanian devils could suffer the same fate.

A study published today in the journal PLoS ONE shows that the Tasmanian tiger, also known as the thylacine, had extremely low genetic variability right before humans hunted it to extinction. Its living cousin, the Tasmanian devil, displays a similar genetic plight, making it especially vulnerable to a contagious cancer that is decimating the species.

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