New photos claim to show a thylacine in Tasmania. Distributed by a popular television personality who popularizes mysterious animal sightings, the photos and the backstory appear bogus. In today’s tech landscape, where digital images can be easily manipulated or manufactured, cryptid images without additional evidence should, by default, not be considered useful.

On May 14, 2024, TV wildlife biologist Forrest Galante posted a YouTube video showing a Zoom discussion with a guy from Minneapolis who claims he and his Dad came upon what they thought was a dog on the side of the road at night in Tasmania. They stopped to help and took photos when they realized it wasn’t a dog. The photos he provided appear to show a thylacine, which has been extinct for decades. Galante interviewed the witness “Zach” and revealed the photos said to have been taken in mid-April at an undisclosed location (near Upper Stowport).

The video interview is long and somewhat annoying to watch because the witness isn’t very helpful and also keeps his face hidden. Galante doesn’t know what to think because he sees some problems in the story and the photos. While mentioning the inconsistencies, he still desperately wants to believe and also benefits from the hype this could generate. Many people want to believe the thylacine is still existing out there.

Thylacines (or Tasmanian tigers) were marsupials native to Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea that filled the role of top predator. The last known thylacine died in 1936 and none were captured in the wild after 1933. Data strongly suggests that the their population was in decline and efforts to eliminate thylacines from farmed areas worked too well. After decades of no verified accounts of its existence, it was declared officially extinct by the Tasmanian government in the 1980s. Some people insist it still is out there and see their possibility everywhere, however, the evidence is very poor – just stories and terrible visuals.

The photos given to Galante looked to be edited or created from existing photos and models. They are strangely blurry, the background and shadows look wrong and the features inconsistent. There is no indication, besides the witness’ word, that they were taken in Tasmania. He did not give the exact location. The details are nonexistent or conflicting. Galante noticed the photos were not originals; he asked for the original unedited photos but there is no word that he got them. By the end of the interview, Galante assured Zach that he would contact authorities regarding this sighting.

More analysis here by Miles and Trey:

Plastic Plesiosaur Podcast May 15, 2024

And Reddit: At Least Some of the Thylacine “photos” appear to be manipulated images of Archesuchus’ Thylacine doll

Galante and the photos are getting significant attention. Thanks to social media, more people than ever see these images and volunteer their opinion based on their hopes, not their zoological or technological experience. From the responses on Reddit and YouTube, there is a significant percentage of those who think these are genuine pics of a live thylacine, some people think the photos are clearly hoaxed, and a third portion think these photos are fakes but the thylacine is really still around. The proponents of a living thylacine have opinions based on little more than wishful thinking.

I marvel at the many instances where, when presented with the same visual evidence (for example, the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film), some people will insist that the images of a cryptid are obviously fake and others insist with similar enthusiasm they are totally legitimate and proof-positive documentation. It can’t be both. One party’s opinion is entirely wrong.

What’s the best bet?

For those making an extraordinary claim – that something declared extinct and not seen for decades is still around – you must do better than grainy, awful visuals or “I saw it” stories. Regardless of the alleged sighting reports of creatures, whether it be a thylacine or a Bigfoot, there remains key pieces missing in the interpretation that would make the animals’ reality plausible. We have no body parts, no DNA, no reliable sighting patterns – no item to test or solid path to follow. If there is one animal, there must be many, yet we don’t see corresponding evidence of that. People were able to track and kill thylacines to the point where so few remained that they could not survive. Why do we not see them now? How did so few remain for so long without discovery? Because they are truly gone and people aren’t seeing or photographing thylacines.

Update: 19-May-2024
These photos and the story have now reached some mainstream news outlets like Newsweek and Coast to Coast AM, which means others will redistribute the story. Fortunately, at least for the Newsweek version (in this case – it’s not a great source in most instances), the skepticism is high and these are strongly suggested as being hoaxed. The most popular consensus by experts is that these photos have used a lifelike, posable model thylacine designed by artist known on social media as “archesuchus”. The timing of the release of the model is extremely suspicious. The model and the release of the Galante video is either a coincidence or the fake story was done by “archesuchus”. But the match of the photos to the model is certain.

Archesuchus post on Xitter showing their model and kidding that they can also fake thylacine photos.

4 thoughts on “Suspicious photos of alleged thylacine revealed by pop wildlife biologist

    1. @sharona
      If I recall correctly, Beth Windle's avatar pic came from a genuine black-and-white photo of the thylacine that lived at Hobart Zoo in the 1930s .

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