A photo taken by a home CCTV system has emerged which shows an unidentified four legged animal standing in a driveway at night. The creature bears a resemblance to the Tasmanian tiger, an animal believed to have been extinct for over 80 years.
An Imgur user posted a photo to the platform on Monday, asking "What is this in my driveway?" That's not necessarily the best way to get answers, but OK. There were a few responses quick to say it was a Chupacabra, which is all but guaranteed whenever a picture of anything remotely dog-like gets posted to the internet. Maybe it's just fun to say.
Others declared it a Tasmanian tiger, and the resemblance is definitely there.
Also known as a Thylacine, the Tasmanian tiger was a carnivorous marsupial native to continental Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. While scientists believe that the Tasmanian tiger neared extinction in continental Australia some 2,000 years ago, the population in Tasmania persisted until the dawn of the 20th century, when hunting, disease, and habitat destruction led to the last known Thylacine declared dead on September 7, 1936.
Comparable to a timber wolf in terms size, the Thylacine was the apex predator of its native lands. Contrary to other apex predators, however, the Thylacine had a weak jaw and could only prey on smaller creatures. This put it in direct competition with the other predators of Oceania and left the tiger vulnerable to small ecological disturbances. They were just as vulnerable to large disturbances as well: Thylacines were blamed for the killing of farmers' sheep in the 1800's and a bounty was put out on their hides. This lasted until 1909, and was likely the death blow for the Tasmanian tiger population.
Or not. Seeing a Thylacine isn't that unheard of,. There have been reports of Tasmanian tiger sightings since the animal was declared extinct. In 2017 researchers said they caught video footage of the elusive marsupial, and many other sightings have been reported in recent years, although none have been confirmed.
Of course it's hard to say if this picture is even remotely plausible when the original post makes no mention of where in the world they're located. The license plates on the cars look like they could be Australian, but they could just as easily be British or other country that uses the same narrow license plate design.
There's always a solid chance that this Imgur user—who goes by the extraordinarily trustworthy username of "560444"—was aware of alleged Tasmanian tiger sightings (or Chupacabra sightings, for that matter) and knew the best way to rile up people on the internet is to trick them into thinking they've figured something out. It could just be a weird-looking shaved dog with his tail stuck in a vuvuzela.
With only 80 years having passed since the last known Thylacine passed away, it seems reasonable to suggest that a population might have survived and continued on. It's also reasonable to suggest that one should reveal their general geographical location when trying to identify a cryptid. With nothing else to go on other than this one picture it's impossible to identify this animal with any certainty, but it would be awesome if an extinct animal as cool as the Thylacine turned out to be doing fine.