In what may lead to a breakthrough in determining whether or not the famed Tasmanian Tiger still exists, an Australian company specializing in environmental DNA research has developed a method for detecting the presence of the famed creature. The burgeoning field of environmental DNA research centers around the cultivation of shed skin cells, hair and other minute biological material found in soil or water and then comparing it against a genetic database to create a catalog of creatures living in a certain area. Conversely, the technique can also be used to look for one specific animal, which is how it wound up capturing the interest of prominent thylacine researcher Michael Moss.
The longtime Tasmanian Tiger seeker turned to the Australian company EnviroDNA and enlisted them to create a genetic profile of the creature which could then be applied to environmental DNA studies. Announcing the completion of the project on their website, the group acknowledged that, according to mainstream science, the thylacine is an extinct animal and, presumably, its genetic material is nowhere to be found in the wild. However, they said, "the opportunity to explore DNA from one of Australia's most iconic and sadly lost creatures, sparked the team's curiosity to take this project on. "
More on this story at the Coast to Coast AM website.