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A Tasmanian Wolf

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Chapter Summary

In the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s a series of wolf-like illustrations of the thylacine predominated in natural history literature. These images draw on specific and well-established intertextual connections with the European wolf and are much more obvious in their construction of the thylacine as a threat to human practices than any previous illustrations. They are accompanied by labelling that defines this association: "Tasmanian" or "Marsupial Wolf" then becomes the principal name given to the species in zoological works until well into the twentieth century. Most texts about the thylacine in natural history works published from the second half of the nineteenth century until the mid-twentieth century suggest the name 'wolf' and occasionally 'tiger' were in common use in Tasmania. Ideologically biased images and rhetoric about the thylacine in the second half of the nineteenth century was exacerbated by interpretations of Charles Darwin's theories about the appearance and disappearance of species.

Keywords: Charles Darwin; Tasmanian wolf



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