Brave New Wild: Why ‘Resurrecting’ the Thylacine is a Dangerous Idea

In 2021 the National Film and Sound Archive released new footage of the last known thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger. Where previous footage had been in black and white and set to a Pathé-newsreel-style voiceover, the new film was entirely silent, and had been digitally enhanced and recoloured by technicians working from sketches, paintings and thylacine pelts held in museum collections. Thus restored, the images were strangely haunting: the doglike marsupial, hunted to extinction in the early twentieth century, seemed for a moment uncannily ‘present’ and the tragedy of its loss a little keener for the apparition. As ‘Benjamin’ prowled around his ratty pen, pausing only to scratch himself or take in a smell from the surrounding bush, one felt sad, as opposed to merely angry, about the fate of this iconic beast, and about the wider ‘Anthropogenic’ calamity of which its disappearance is one tiny part. [More here.]

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