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How the last members of a species were stuffed, archived, and forgotten

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Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger)
Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger)

When an entire species dies out there is, inevitably, mathematically, a last one. Over at the Krulwich Wonders blog on NPR, the host of Radio Lab, Robert Krulwich, examines three stories of the final, solitary living example of an extinct species. The very last auk, passenger pigeon, and Tasmanian tiger had sorry deaths and even sorrier afterlives — none of which should be particularly surprising. The Tasmanian tiger, in particular, suffered from poor treatment in the end, and the two birds were briefly displayed in museums before waning public interest relegated them to cold storage. There may be hope yet, however, as some geneticists are pursuing plans to bring some species back to life. Until then, you can find the stories of the last animals and a video of the last Tasmanian tiger on Krulwich's blog.