An Australian man buys a small pack of pink animal hairs at an auction in the UK, only to discover that it belongs to the extinct Tasmanian tiger
- Sydney amateur naturalist Chris Rehburg bought the hairs at an auction in 2016
- He wanted to discover his mysteries by putting them under the microscope
- The scientists at Geelong offered to investigate them under their powerful lenses
- The findings revealed that the rare hairs belonged to the now extinct Tasmanian tiger
Charlie Coe for Daily Mail Australia
It has been confirmed that a small package purchased at an auction by a Sydney amateur naturalist contains rare hairs belonging to the extinct Tasmanian tiger.
Chris Rehberg bought the mysterious hair when it was auctioned in the United Kingdom in 2016, as part of a collection that is believed to have belonged to the famous British botanist David Bellamy.
Mr. Rehberg bought the small envelope labeled "thylacinus cynocephalus" with the aim of investigating the true extinction date of the carnivorous marsupial.
It has been confirmed that a small package (in the image) purchased at auction by an amateur naturalist from Sydney contains rare hairs belonging to the extinct Tasmanian tiger.
He created a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money needed to buy a microscope, but CSIRO, the government agency responsible for scientific research, helped him.
Colin Veitch, who works at the CSIRO microscopy laboratory in Geelong, said he read about the hairs in an online article.
He said: "I saw it online and I thought I should help."
Subjected to the microscope at a perspective of one tenth of a millimeter, the scientists were able to confirm that the hair was of a Tasmanian tiger
Mr. Rehrberg bought the small envelope labeled "thylacinus cynocephalus" (pictured) with the aim of investigating the true extinction date of the carnivorous marsupial.
"We have microscopes that can approach 2-5,000 times, so I offered our services to help you see the fibers."
A photo taken with a microscope, showing one of the hairs close up, was enough for the CSIRO team to know that the hair belonged to a Tasmanian tiger.
The researchers said that each of the three hairs was different and probably represented a different part of the skin and coat of the tiger.
They added that the additional level of thylacine hair was likely to mean that the species had evolved to adapt to colder, wetter climates.
Mr. Veitch said: "Those fibers would have taken some time in the 19th century and some naturalist would have returned them to the United Kingdom."
The CSIRO microscopy team joked that they were now watching the Tibetan Yeti's hair to prove the existence of the abominable snowman,
CSIRO scientist Veitch said: "Those fibers would have been taken sometime in the 19th century and some naturalist would have taken them back to the United Kingdom."