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Chapter Summary

The role of visual culture in embodying perceptions of animals and then reinforcing or producing attitudes and actions is a concept that is central to this book. Where animal extinctions are concerned, the thylacine, often referred to as the Tasmanian 'tiger', is some thing of an icon. The book analyses eighty illustrations of the thylacine in influential printed literature - scientific journals, zoological and natural history publications, popular books about animals, zoo guides and newspapers and magazines - that were executed between 1803, when the first British settlers arrived on the island of Tasmania, and 1936 when the last captive thylacine died in a Hobart zoo. Through examining the ways in which this unique marsupial was represented in pictures and text and by deciphering the messages they contain, the book uncovers "layers of ideological and linguistic biases," reveals the complexity of cultural constructions, and shows how these representations are prejudiced and anthropocentric.

Keywords: Tasmanian 'tiger'; thylacine



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