Tasmanian Devil

11 Stories

On Peninsula, Tasmanian Devils Make Last Stand

Australia guarding last wild population from contagious cancer that's decimating their ranks

(Newser) - Drive over one narrow isthmus in Tasmania, and then another, and you'll reach Tasman Peninsula, the last place on Earth where wild Tasmanian devils live apart from a contagious cancer that threatens the marsupials' existence. Conservationists are doing everything they can to keep it that way. Devil-proof barriers, flashing... More »

Dogs Pass Oldest-Known Cancer by Having Sex

The venereal tumor dates back 11,000 years, say UK scientists

(Newser) - Scientists have spotted the oldest-known living form of cancer, and it's an odd one—passed sexually from dog to dog over the past 11,000 years, the Smithsonian reports. By decoding the cancer's genome, British researchers found that it dates back to a dog with short, dark fur... More »

London Olympics Blasted for Using Endangered Wood

Team USA will use basketball court for training

(Newser) - At next year’s London Olympics, the US basketball team will train on some pretty rare ground. The court is being made from eucalyptus wood logged in a 1,000-year-old Tasmanian forest that's home to endangered species such as the Tasmanian Devil, activists allege. The UN World Heritage Committee... More »

Scientists Crack Code of Kangaroo's DNA

Decoding could lead to new antibiotics, hope for wombats

(Newser) - What makes the kangaroo hop? That’s just one of the questions answered by international researchers who’ve decoded the genome of a kangaroo species, the BBC reports. The genome research team—the first to be led by Australian scientists—sequenced the genome in 2008 but finally completed its analysis... More »

Aussies Warm to Snarling, Vanishing Tasmanian Devil

Once-reviled creature in trouble

(Newser) - The Tasmanian devil is nobody’s idea of lovable. The combative screeching marsupial was once the most reviled animal in Australia. But now that the creature is on the brink of extinction , Australians have found a well of sympathy for the little devil, the LA Times reports. The devil’s... More »

Cancer Clue May Save Tasmanian Devils

Scientists find the origins of fast-spreading disease

(Newser) - Hope for Tasmanian devils: Scientists think they've found the origin of a contagious cancer threatening to wipe them out. An international research team picked apart the cancer's genes and discovered that it apparently first arose in cells that protect the animals' nerves. The surprise finding, reported in today's edition of... More »

Tumor-Stricken Tasmanian Devils Now 'Endangered'

Australia ups protections for devastated, iconic species

(Newser) - The Tasmanian devil, the iconic inhabitant of the island off Australia and the world’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial, is now officially endangered, reports the BBC. Under attack by a virulent disease characterized by facial tumors, the devil population may be as low as 20,000, down 70% since the... More »

Devils Breed Earlier to Stave Off Cancer

Attempt to outlast disease could be evolutionary

(Newser) - Tasmanian devils are reproducing at a younger age to offset a contagious cancer epidemic, the Daily Telegraph reports. The ill-tempered marsupials, suffering from tumors that cut their lifespan in half, are now breeding at age 1 instead of 2 or 3. "We could be seeing evolution occurring before our... More »

Tasmania Moving Its Devils

As cancer decimates critters, Aussies quarantine them on old prison peninsula

(Newser) - The Australian government is stepping in to prevent the Tasmanian Devil from extinction, the Wall Street Journal reports, as the ill-tempered beasties have been dying off thanks to the world’s first contagious cancer, which they transfer by biting each other in the face. So zoologists are now working to... More »

Cancer Can Be Contagious

Tasmanian Devils transmit it by biting, dogs with sex

(Newser) - Contrary to long-held opinion, cancer can be contagious—and Darwin is to blame, a science reporter told NPR. It turns out cancer cells evolve as species do, and in some rare cases—a cancer affecting Tasmanian devils, two others in dogs and hamsters—the cancers have evolved to allow direct... More »

Tasmanian Devils Face Extinction

Iconic marsupials hit by contagious facial cancer

(Newser) - Tasmanian Devils, the largest marsupial carnivore and the island's main tourist attraction, are threatened with extinction due to a contagious and fatal form of facial cancer spreading rapidly through the population. "Once they've got a lump, it's a one way trip,"  one expert  says. More »

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