By Tim Binnall
A Tasmanian Tiger researcher's claim that he has acquired photographs which would confirm that the creature is not extinct and actually still roams the Earth has been upended by an esteemed wildlife expert who reportedly examined the images and concluded that the animal in question is not the famed thylacine. Neil Waters of the Thylacine Awareness Group of Australia (TAGOA) sparked something of a firestorm earlier this week when he posted a YouTube video wherein he boldly declared that recently discovered game camera pictures showed a family of Tasmanian Tigers. Perhaps in part due to his considerable confidence, the researcher's assertion garnered widespread attention from both the crytpozoological community as well as mainstream scientists and the media.
Alas, it would seem that Waters' proverbial victory lap may have been a bit too hasty as wildlife expert Nick Mooney, who is considered the preeminent analyst of alleged thylacine evidence, weighed in on the photos and offered a rather dispiriting analysis. A statement from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, where he serves as honorary curator of vertebrate zoology, indicated that he had "concluded that based on the physical characteristics shown in the photos provided, the animals are very unlikely to be thylacines, and most likely Tasmanian pademelons." The museum went on to reiterate the position of mainstream science that "there have been no confirmed sightings documented of the thylacine since 1936."
Unfortunately for Waters, this development has led to him and his claim being the subject of a fair amount of ridicule online for what is now thought to be a massive misidentification. Be that as it may, the researcher appears to be undeterred by Mooney's assessment, telling members of TAGOA Facebook group that the creature in the photos is "very very Thylacine in having at least eight anatomical features that make it a Thylacine way more than pademelon, from all I can ascertain." The debate, such as it is, will hopefully be put to rest this coming Monday when Waters plans to release the much-discussed images to the public.