The last known captive thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) died in Hobart's Beaumaris Zoo in 1936 and the species has since become an icon of extinction. In the 21st century, there is considerable interest in documenting, analysing, and rediscovering thylacine specimens in museum collections. Due to their age, location, and collecting practices, the teaching collections of Australia's oldest universities are a potential source of undocumented thylacine specimens. Within three departmental museum collections, the University of Melbourne holds five thylacine skulls. The skulls were visually inspected, measured, sexed, and described in detail for the first time. Archival research was undertaken to determine provenance and historical details. The five skulls were added to the University's collections between 1893 and 1932. They are derived from four adult males and one adult female. Specific locality data are available for three skulls, collected at Lake Saint Clair, south of Cressy, and Woolnorth. Holding five skulls, University of Melbourne's collection constitutes one of the top ten largest thylacine assemblages in Australasia, and the second largest held by an Australasian university.

This content is only available as a PDF.