The thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus, ancient Greek for "dog-headed pouched one") was the biggest known carnivorous marsupial of contemporary times. It is commonly known as the Tasmanian wolf or tiger (because of its striped back). It is supposed that the specie have become extinct in the middle of the XXth century. Thylacine was native to continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. It was the last extant member of its family, Thylacinidae. Specimens of other participants of this family have been found only in the fossil records dated to the early Miocene.
The Tasmanian wolf had become awfully rare and even extinct on the Australian continent before British settlement of the continent, but it survived on the isolated island of Tasmania along with several other endemic species of animals, including the Tasmanian devil.
Intense hunting let to its extinction, but other contributing factors may have been disease, the introduction of domestic animal, in particular dogs, and human invasion into its habitat. Despite its official classification as extinct, still appear reports about meetings with the Tasmanian wolf, though no one of them have been conclusively proven or documented.
Existing facts about its behavior suggests that it was a comparatively skittish, nocturnal animal with the general aspect of a medium-size dog, except for its rigid tail and abdominal pouch (it was reminiscent of a kangaroo) and a series of dark radiated stripes on the back (making it look a bit like a little tiger).
Like many carnivors, from which it obtained two of its common names (tigers and wolves), the thylacine was an vertex predator. As a marsupial, it was not closely connected to these placental mammals, but because of common evolution it created the same general shape of body and adaptive behavior. The thylacine was one of only two marsupials which had an abdominal pouch in both sexes (the other specie existing today being the water opossum). The male thylacine had a pouch that acted as a protective sheath, covering his external reproductive organs while he ran through thick brush. The thylacine has been described as a frightful predator because of its capability to survive and hunt prey in scanty populated territories. Nevertheless, today Tasmanian wolf is extinct, but is still represented on flag of island!