Behavior

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Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Myers, P. 2001. "Thylacinidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thylacinidae.html
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Morphology

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Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Myers, P. 2001. "Thylacinidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thylacinidae.html
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Reproduction

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Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual

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Myers, P. 2001. "Thylacinidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thylacinidae.html
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Thylacines (Family Thylacinidae)

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The Thylacinidae is an extinct family of diverse small to medium-sized, carnivorous, dog-like marsupials from the order Dasyuromorphia. They had long snouts with three premolars per jaw. The molars were specialized for carnivory; the cusps and crests are reduced and/or elongated to form cutting blades. Over 10 species are known from northern and central Australia. They ranged in size from those the size of a quoll to species of Thylacinus larger than T. cynocephalus. They were generally similar to one another, differing mainly in their dentitions, which may reflect differences in diet. The skulls are anatomically conservative and changed little over time. Early thylacines shared many features with quolls and the Tasmanian Devil, but even the oldest thylacines show dental specializations towards greater carnivory. Thylacines had tiny, hairless young that developed to maturity in a pouch after birth. Most species probably hunted at night or during the early morning hours. They were top predators within their size range and were probably not swift runners amd may have relied on persistence and stamina. The traditional view is that thylacines were descended from a dasyurid ancestor perhaps during the Oligocene (1). An alternative view is that thylacinids were the older and more 'primitive' group and that dasyurids were a newer and more specialized group (2). Thylacines represent an ancient Australian marsupial lineage, sharing many features in common with basal marsupials such as opossums. Thylacines were considered to be most closely related to the borhyaenids, an extinct South American predatory marsupial lineage, as both groups have similar dental morphology and a reduced or absent epipubic bone. Studies of marsupial tarsal (ankle) bones and molecular analyses confirmed that the thylacine is most closely related to the Australian marsupial carnivore family Dasyuridae. The thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) was the only species to survive into modern times, which officially became extinct in 1936, although some people claim that it still survives. All other thylacinids all lived in prehistoric times in Australia and were the main Australian mammalian predators of the Miocene.

The species are as follows:

†Badjcinus turnbulli (Early Oligocene)

†Maximucinus muirheadae (Middle Miocene)

†Muribacinus gadiyuli (Middle Miocene)

†Mutpuracinus archiboldi (Middle Miocene)

†Ngamalacinus timmulvaneyi (Lower Miocene)

†Nimbacinus dicksoni (Late Oligocene-Lower Miocene)

†Nimbacinus richi (Middle Miocene)

Thylacine (†Thylacinus cynocephalus) (Early Pliocene - 1936)

†Thylacinus macknessi (Upper Oligocene-Lower Miocene)

†Thylacinus megiriani (Upper Miocene)

†Thylacinus potens (Lower Miocene)

†Thylacinus rostralis

†Tjarrpecinus rothi (Upper Miocene)

†Wabulacinus ridei (Upper Oligocene — Lower Miocene)

Reference 3 shows a cladogram.
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Thylacinidae

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Thylacinidae is an extinct family of carnivorous, superficially dog-like marsupials from the order Dasyuromorphia. The only species to survive into modern times was the thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), which became extinct in 1936.

The consensus on placement of the family is with the Dasyuromorphia order, with agreement on the divergence this family and the Dasyuridae, represented by the extant quolls and Tasmanian devil Sarcophilus harrisii, remaining under consideration.

The thylacinid family was represented by two species in a synonymy published in 1982, the recently extinct Tasmanian tiger and the species Thylacinus potens, known by fossil material. Discoveries of new material, especially in well researched fossil depositions at the Riversleigh World Heritage Area, revealed a diverse array of genera and families existing during Miocene epoch. The dentition of specimens and some largely complete crania showed the development of specialist predators capable of hunting and consuming a range of vertebrate species, and like other mammalian predators, such as the canid family, could include herbivores larger than themselves. An assessment of the size range of the species has provided evidence of animals occupying a greater number of trophic levels and challenged the conception of the dominance of reptilians as large hyper-carnivorous predators on the Australia continent.[1]

The consensus of authors prior to 1982 was that the thylacinid family were related to the borhyaenidae, a group of South American predators, also extinct, that exhibited many similar characteristics of dentition. A review published in 1982 compared the skeletal structure of these groups, concluding the tarsal bones show greater affinity with the dasyurmorphs, strongly supporting the later theory that any dental similarities emerged independently.[2]

Another family, the Thylacoleonidae, were also large carnivorous marsupials, but allied to the order Vombatiformes and assumed to have also evolutionarily converged as predators of large herbivores.

Genera

Family Thylacinidae, extinct

References

  1. ^ a b Wroe, S. (2001). "Maximucinus muirheadae, gen. et sp. nov. (Thylacinidae : Marsupialia), from the Miocene of Riversleigh, north-western Queensland, with estimates of body weights for fossil thylacinids". Australian Journal of Zoology. 49 (6): 603. doi:10.1071/ZO01044. S2CID 32417772.
  2. ^ Long, J.A.; Archer, M. (2002). Prehistoric Mammals of Australia and New Guinea: One Hundred Million Years of Evolution. UNSW Press. p. 60. ISBN 9780868404356.
  3. ^ Muirhead, Jeanette; Wroe, Stephen (September 1998). "A New Genus and Species, Badjcinus turnbulli (Thylacinidae: Marsupialia), from the Late-Oligocene of Riversleigh, Northern Australia, and an Investigation of Thylacinid Phylogeny". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 18 (3): 612–626. doi:10.1080/02724634.1998.10011088.
  4. ^ Wroe, Stephen (1995). "Muribacinus gadiyuli (Thylacinidae: Marsupialia), a very plesiomorphic thylacinid from the Miocene of Riversleigh, northwestern Queensland, and the problem of paraphyly for the Dasyuridae (Marsupialia)". Journal of Paleontology. 70 (6): 1032–1044. doi:10.1017/S0022336000038737.
  5. ^ a b Murray, P.; Megirian, D. (2000). "Two New Genera and Three New Species of Thylacinidae (Marsupialia) from the Miocene of the Northern Territory, Australia". The Beagle : Occasional Papers of the Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences. 16: 145–162.
  6. ^ a b Muirhead, J. (1997). "Two new early Miocene thylacines from Riversleigh, northwestern Queensland". Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. 41: 367–377.
  7. ^ Muirhead, J.; Archer, M. (1990). "Nimbacinus dicksoni, a plesiomorphic thylacine (Marsupialia: Thylacinidae) from Tertiary deposits of Queensland and the Northern Territory". Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. 28: 203–221.

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Thylacinidae: Brief Summary

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Thylacinidae is an extinct family of carnivorous, superficially dog-like marsupials from the order Dasyuromorphia. The only species to survive into modern times was the thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), which became extinct in 1936.

The consensus on placement of the family is with the Dasyuromorphia order, with agreement on the divergence this family and the Dasyuridae, represented by the extant quolls and Tasmanian devil Sarcophilus harrisii, remaining under consideration.

The thylacinid family was represented by two species in a synonymy published in 1982, the recently extinct Tasmanian tiger and the species Thylacinus potens, known by fossil material. Discoveries of new material, especially in well researched fossil depositions at the Riversleigh World Heritage Area, revealed a diverse array of genera and families existing during Miocene epoch. The dentition of specimens and some largely complete crania showed the development of specialist predators capable of hunting and consuming a range of vertebrate species, and like other mammalian predators, such as the canid family, could include herbivores larger than themselves. An assessment of the size range of the species has provided evidence of animals occupying a greater number of trophic levels and challenged the conception of the dominance of reptilians as large hyper-carnivorous predators on the Australia continent.

The consensus of authors prior to 1982 was that the thylacinid family were related to the borhyaenidae, a group of South American predators, also extinct, that exhibited many similar characteristics of dentition. A review published in 1982 compared the skeletal structure of these groups, concluding the tarsal bones show greater affinity with the dasyurmorphs, strongly supporting the later theory that any dental similarities emerged independently.

Another family, the Thylacoleonidae, were also large carnivorous marsupials, but allied to the order Vombatiformes and assumed to have also evolutionarily converged as predators of large herbivores.

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