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Thylacine Research Unit - T.R.U

Thylacine Research Unit

T.R.U.

Thylacine Footprints

Please see below a representation of what a Thylacine print should look like. Note that the toes should face slightly inwards and look for the presence of dermal ridges in the pads. The vast majority of prints that we see are dog prints or wombat prints. There are many wild or feral dogs in the wilds of Tasmania and other parts of Australia.


According to Pocock (1926), as sited in the great thylacine reference site, Thylacine Museum, The thylacine is digitigrade, meaning it normally walks on its toes. The feet of the thylacine differ significantly from those of dasyurids (Pocock 1926).


The pads of the feet are granulated rather than striated. The front foot (manus) has a small, largely non-functional thumb (pollex) which sometimes (although rarely) will leave an imprint in tracks made in soft mud. Unlike those of a dog, the thylacine's toes have no webbing between them. In canids, this webbing serves to hold the digits together when running. In the thylacine, there is a fusion of the three interdigital pads to form a single, tri-lobed plantar pad.

All the large dasyurids, Thylacine included, have very similar feet. One rock solid feature is the ratio of the size of individual planter pad of 6 to 7:1. This ratio holds for Eastern Quoll, Spotted-tailed Quoll, Tasmanian Devil and Thylacine in dehydrated and, as far as I can tell, fresh feet. The canid and felid equivalent falls between 2 and 3:1 (Mooney, pers comms, 1995)

Another characteristic of animal feet is the axis of the toes. On a canid or felid foot the junction is just behind the planter pad - as in the top image immediately below.

Whereas with the dasyurid the axis junction is almost the length of the planter behind as is seen with the thylacine print lower left and the devil print lower right. (Mooney 1995)


Thylacine feet, casts, and alleged prints

References:

Mooney (pers comms) 1995

Pocock 1926

CAMPBELL, C. R. "The Thylacine Museum - Biology: External Anatomy(page 8)". Accessed: 24 Jun 2014, http://www.naturalworlds.org/thylacine/biology/anatomy/external/external_anatomy_8.htm