More Videos Inside: Click Here
Browse me if you can't see image

ieving it to be a type of opossum, naturalist George Harris wrote the first published description of the Tasmanian devil in 1807, naming it Didelphis ursina, due to its bearlike characteristics such as the round ear. He had earlier made a presentation on the topic at the Zoological Society of London. However, that particular binomial name had been given to the common wombat (later reclassified as Vombatus ursinus) by George Shaw in 1800, and was hence unavailable. In 1838, a specimen was named Dasyurus laniarius by Richard Owen, but by 1877 he had relegated it to Sarcophilus. The modern Tasmanian devil was named Sarcophilus harrisii ("Harris's flesh-lover") by French naturalist Pierre Boitard in 1841. A later revision of the devil's taxonomy, published in 1987, attempted to change the species name to Sarcophilus laniarius based on mainland fossil records of only a few animals. However, this was not accepted by the taxonomic community at large; the name S. harrisii has been retained and S. laniarius relegated to a fossil species. "Beelzebub's pup" was an early vernacular name given to it by the explorers of Tasmania, in reference to a religious figure who is a prince of hell and an assistant of Satan; the explorers first encountered the animal by hearing its far-reaching vocalisations at night. Related names that were used in the 19th century were Sarcophilus satanicus ("Satanic flesh-lover") and Diabolus ursinus ("bear devil"), all due to early misconceptions of the species as implacably vicious. The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) belongs to the family Dasyuridae. The genus Sarcophilus contains two other species, known only from Pleistocene fossils: S. laniarius and S. moomaensis. Phylogenetic analysis shows that the Tasmanian devil is most closely related to quolls. According to Pemberton, the possible ancestors of the devil may have needed to climb trees to a cquire food, leading to a growth in size and the hopping gait of many marsupials. He speculated that these adaptations may have caused the contemporary devil's peculiar gait. The specific lineage of the Tasmanian devil is theorised to have emerged during the Miocene, molecular evidence suggesting a split from the ancestors of quolls between 10 and 15 million years ago, when severe climate change came to bear in Australia, transforming the climate from warm and moist to an arid, dry ice age, resulting in mass extinctions. As most of their prey died of the cold, only a few carnivores survived, including the ancestors of the quoll and thylacine. It is speculated that the devil lineage may have arisen at this time to fill a niche in the ecosystem, as a scavenger that disposed of carrion left behind by the selective-eating thylacine. The extinct Glaucodon ballarate