The Last Tasmanian Tiger : The History and Extinction of the Thylacine
This book is the most complete and up-to-date examination of the history and extinction of one of Australia's most enduring folkloric beasts - the thylacine, otherwise affectionately known as the Tasmanian tiger. Bob Paddle challenges conventional theories explaining the behaviour and eventual extinction of the thylacine, arguing that rural politicians used the Tasmanian tiger as a scapegoat to protect local agricultural enterprise from the consequences of mismanagement. After the population of thylacines was decimated through a bounty scheme, ineffective political action by scientists finally resulted in the extinction of a once proud species. Paddle also uncovers a deeper intellectual snobbery that set the scene for the thylacine's eventual extinction. The Last Tasmanian Tiger offers new perspectives on the subjective nature of scientific investigation and the politics of preservation. For its groundbreaking work it received the Whitley Medal of the Zoological Society of New South Wales for best science book of 2001.
- Paperback | 284 pages
- 173 x 251 x 20mm | 570g
- 15 Mar 2009
- CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
- Revised ed.
- 2 Maps; 25 Halftones, unspecified
Table of contents
1. Introduction: science and the species from a European perspective; 2. Constructing objectivity: changing scientific perceptions of the thylacine; 3. Of signal importance: select social and predatory behaviours; 4. A predatory entertainment: stimuli of consuming interest; 5. Ovisceral exploitation: extracts of sheepish behaviour; 6. Mythology becomes misology: the dogmatism of unenlightenment; 7. Faunal fun and games: the politics of protection; 8. The last Tasmanian tiger: indifference and the demise of the species; 9. Post-extinction blues: contingency and responsibility in extinction; 10. Conclusion: the lessons to be learnt.
'... seldom can a new writer have entered the literary arena with a more important volume.' Zoo, Independent Zoo Enthusiasts Society 'I can pay no finer tribute than to say that we now know the Thylacine a good deal better thanks to this book.' Zoo, Independent Zoo Enthusiasts Society '... a thoughtful search for the context in which ideas about the thylacine and its biology have been formulated and promulgated.' Historical Records of Australian Science ' ... a fascinating blend of meticulous scholarship and barely suppressed fury. As the contradictory reports were piled up dryly and relentlessly, I laughed until I cried. In this way, the book achieves a rich and plausible picture of the Thylacine's natural and unnatural history, before and during its decline to extinction.' The Quarterly Review of Biology 'Paddle's account achieves the rare double distinction of meeting the highest standards of academic rigour while at the same time speaking eloquently to a non-specialist audience. ... his subject is now a creature of near-iconic standing and national guilt makes it all the more accessible and fascinating.' Australian Journal of Environmental Education '... a masterful study of what must be almost everything that is known about the thylacine, and it contains a large number of photographs of thylacines in all sorts of postures that have never been widely reproduced before.' Archives of Natural History '... excellent, very thorough study ... flows well and provides a most interesting and easy read. So much so, that the book received the Whitley Medal of the Zoological Society of New South Wales for the best science book of 2001 ... The whole is beautifully researched and documented ...'. The Environmentalist "It is a fascinating blend of meticulous scholarship and barely suppressed fury... the book achieves a rich and plausible picture of the Thylacines' natural and unnatural history... The author builds a compelling case." William B. Sherwin, Quarterly Review of Biology