Tetrapod Zoology

i-cac6ce631a1478d526685b50790cf812-mystery striped mammal cameratrap.jpg

Amazing news! This mysterious striped mammal was recently photographed by a camera-trap: I won’t say where it was photographed as that’ll give the game away. What is it? I’ll announce the answer soon, but feel free to guess in the meantime (this is not a hoax: the photo really does genuinely depict a wild mammal). Am now going into conference-preparation mode (56th SVPCA, Dublin), so am not going to be posting anything substantial on the blog for a while. I’ll try and keep it ticking over with pictures and such though. Dammit, never got to finish the stuff on squirrels, or tortoises. And now I have crazy plans to cover cryptocetology and Lake Dakataua in the near future…


  1. #1 jude
    August 6, 2008


  2. #2 Christopher Taylor
    August 6, 2008

    Nope, west-central Africa. It’s a zebra duiker (Cephalophus zebra).

  3. #3 Christopher
    August 6, 2008

    Oh man, I think I might cry!

  4. #4 Graydon
    August 6, 2008

    Looks like the wrong back curve for the head-down posture and two wide a base of tail, given the pictures I can quickly find for a zebra duiker. They seem to lack a peak over the forelimbs in the structure of the back and have a steady downslope from posterior to anterior over the length of the back. Even if it’s standing on something with the front feet, this doesn’t look like that.

    Definitely not a tasmanian wolf, given the width of the apparent tail, but I have no idea what it might actually be.

  5. #5 Maureen Lycaon
    August 6, 2008

    Seconded. Zebra duiker. (I can wish it were a thylacine . . .)

  6. #6 Dave Hughes
    August 6, 2008

    It could be a relative of the Montauk monster wearing stripy pyjamas….

    But no, on second thoughts I’ll go for Zebra duiker too. I think I remember reading somewhere recently about pygmy hippos being sighted on camera traps in west Africa, so I’ll guess that this photo comes from the same survey.

  7. #7 Hai~Ren
    August 6, 2008

    I’d have to say zebra duiker too.

  8. #8 Robert
    August 6, 2008

    The romantic in me automatically thought “Thylacine”, but that would be too good to be true….

  9. #9 Heine
    August 6, 2008
  10. #10 Carpworld
    August 6, 2008

    That was cruel Darren, you know how i feel about thylacines!

  11. #11 Jerzy
    August 6, 2008

    Too late… seen this zebra duiker photo on article of Niger pygmy hippo research.

    BTW, duikers are interesting and overlooked group, and camera trap photos are my favorite!

  12. #12 Neil
    August 6, 2008

    If this was tasmania I’d imagine it would be all over the news. Im gona go with numbat since its the only non- tiger/zebra thing I can think of (other than a tiger or zebra of course!)

  13. #13 Genuinely Doug
    August 6, 2008

    Zebra duiker? Please! It’s definitely a wild baby Liger.

  14. #14 johannes
    August 6, 2008

    I would have said numbat, but Heine already has done to that photo what I have done to the paca. It’s a zebra duiker, *Cephalophus zebra*. BTW, if global warming carries on until we have recreated the Eocene, duikers and other such slinkers will have a great future before them.

  15. #15 Siamang
    August 6, 2008

    No fair! That photo was cropped to MAKE us think it was a thylacine!

    Beautiful animal, tho.

  16. #16 Serena
    August 6, 2008

    Goodness me.
    I am a long time reader, first time poster and that photo made me gasp.
    Could it be?
    Is it true?

    Please say it was in Tasmania.

  17. #17 Serena
    August 6, 2008

    Well, after looking at a few photos of the duiker I’d have to agree that seems the most probable pick.

    They seem like very interesting little mammals. I look forward to hearing more.

  18. #18 Darren Naish
    August 6, 2008

    No fair! That photo was cropped to MAKE us think it was a thylacine!

    Hmm, really? Oh, I hadn’t thought of that… 🙂

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    August 6, 2008

    Its an armadillo

  20. #20 Max Paddington
    August 6, 2008

    Well like everyone else here I was pretty disappointed at first that it wasn’t a true blue thylacine….

    But that being said, ALL animals are fascinating in their own right, and I for one (my friends all think I know EVERYTHING about wildlife) have never seen a zebra duiker. Cute little thing eh? Now are they closer to the deer family or antelope family?

    I always liked striped and spotted animals…. to the point that for a while I wanted to get thylacine or tiger stripes tattooed on my back (thank God I didn’t eh? just stuck with tribal patterns and a really cool Tyrannosaur Jolly Roger.)

    I appeal to you all, don’t be disappointed because it’s not a presumed-extinct thylacine (and I still hold out hope), instead appreciate the endearing (and probably fascinating) little animal for what it is.

  21. #21 Max Paddington
    August 6, 2008

    One more thing…. Cryptocetology? That sounds incredibly interesting. I would love to hear more.

  22. #22 Mike Keesey
    August 6, 2008

    You are an evil, evil man. 😀

  23. #23 Phil
    August 6, 2008

    Looks like an okapi’s butt.

  24. #24 Phil
    August 6, 2008

    p.s. it’s probably not though.

  25. #25 Zach Miller
    August 6, 2008

    Late-surviving gorgonopsid, obviously.

  26. #26 Nathan Myers
    August 6, 2008

    I guess you know my vote is for cryptoscansoriplesiosaurology.

  27. #27 eric
    August 6, 2008

    Bad Tetrapod!! No Dessert for you! 😉

    My boy’s heart lept at the thought of living Thylacine (the rest of him was leaping and bouncing off the walls too)..

    The Zebra duiker is cool too, but not as cool as a Thylacine…

  28. #28 Richard Hing
    August 6, 2008

    I have to admit my immediate thought was ‘Wow, a thylacine!’ Well, my very first thought was Ozenkadnook tiger, and then thylacine. Anyway, I was wondering if camera traps have ever been used in the hunt for the thylacine?

  29. #29 Dr Vector
    August 6, 2008

    You, sir, are pure dag-nasty evil. I picture you sitting in an overstuffed chair (on a swivel, of course), stroking the last known Stilt-Legged Mauritius Taiga Lynx with one hand, clicking the “post” button on cruelly-cropped non-thylacine pictures with the other, and cackling softly all the while. Also I imagine that your hair is falling out in clumps, past beady eyes that twinkle with perverted ambition and debauchery.

    Someone should take a duiker on your keyboard.

  30. #30 Rosel
    August 6, 2008

    If only…
    But I’m sure a duiker article will be interesting too

  31. #31 Max Paddington
    August 6, 2008

    I still think you’re all being hard on the poor little Duiker.

    PS: Dr Vector’s use of the word ‘Duiker’ as a poop-reference had me in stitches.

  32. #32 Max Paddington
    August 6, 2008

    Update: You’re all being hard on the poor little Duiker EXCEPT Rosel there, who posted just as I was posting my last post.

    And ‘Duiker’ as a poop joke is still funny.

  33. #33 Moai
    August 6, 2008

    It’s either a juvenile sasquatch, or else a bear with mange.

  34. #34 cecil b.
    August 6, 2008

    Looks like a turtle without its shell

  35. #35 Pterorhynchus
    August 6, 2008

    At last! A ropen!

  36. #36 DDeden
    August 6, 2008

    I thought it was Darren in his zebra duiker t-shirt hunched over his laptop in his knucklewalking pose..

  37. #37 Stewart Macdonald
    August 7, 2008

    “Anyway, I was wondering if camera traps have ever been used in the hunt for the thylacine?”

    Indeed they have. I blogged on my own blog about Darren’s blog post, and there’s some info on thylacine camera traps in the blog comments. Blog.


  38. #38 susan
    August 7, 2008

    Dammit! I was so excited when I first saw this photo. Then I read the comments, my hopes were dashed. Mr Naish you are a cruel, cruel man.

  39. #39 Craig York
    August 7, 2008

    I’d never heard of the Zebra Duiker before, so I leave
    Tet Zoo, a more bit more informed than before. Proportions
    in the snap were wrong for Thylacine, anyhow…:(

  40. #40 tdh
    August 7, 2008

    IIRC I spotted a Tasmanian wolf not that long ago …

    stuffed, in the zoological museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, on the same side of the river as the Repin Institute.

  41. #41 Bruce T.
    August 7, 2008

    Aww, I was hoping Thylacine too. Oh well.

  42. #42 Thylacinus cynocephalus
    August 7, 2008

    Since we have already been teased, I would like to bring to light some information that some of you may not already know. On Cameron R. Campbell’s Thylacine Museum website (which all Thylacine die-hards have probably viewed before) http://www.naturalworlds.org/thylacine/index.htm, towards the bottom of the page is a free publication from a man known only as Tigerman, regarding the continued existence of your favorite lupine marsupial http://www.users.bigpond.com/tigerbook/. It is an interesting story, which is hopefully true. I encourage e-mailing “Tigerman.” I stumbled upon this a year ago, read the material, and e-mailed him with many questions. He patiently answered each one to the best of his ability. I also e-mailed Cameron R. Campbell, who verified his belief in Tigerman’s credentials and information. So check it out! If you find out anything good, share it!

  43. #43 Thylacinus cynocephalus
    August 7, 2008

    Oh, I forgot to way in on the identity of the striped mystery. I support Zebra Duiker. At first glance I thought Numbat, but it looks too uniform and bright to be the brownish background of the Numbat.

  44. #44 Chris M.
    August 11, 2008

    Hooray for duikers!

    I spend way too much time thinking about potential new and interesting evolutionary paths, and I just love the idea of a future predatory ungulate. Small omnivores can end up anywhere!

  45. #45 phat_al
    August 16, 2008

    If the Koreans could clone dogs, can they clone the tasmanian tiger?

  46. #46 David Marjanovi?
    August 16, 2008

    Give them the DNA, and they’ll do it.

    Therein, of course, lies the rub. Even the alcohol-preserved specimen doesn’t contain enough undamaged DNA anymore.

  47. #47 Famos Watch Brands
    February 4, 2009

    Oh, I forgot to way in on the identity of the striped mystery. I support Zebra Duiker. At first glance I thought Numbat, but it looks too uniform and bright to be the brownish background of the Numbat.

  48. #48 Lela Criswell
    May 6, 2011

    The vagaries of the English language: Darren says it rhymes with biker; game guides in South Africa say it rhymes with faker!

  49. #49 swiss watches brands
    July 26, 2011

    bring it to the lab and get the specimen and be done with it! lol

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