I don’t know if you remember, but one of the highlights of 2011 (most likely just for me, though) was a mysterious and mysteriously well-drawn image of a mysterious animal in my coffee cup.

The magical apparition

At the time of the discovery, my coworkers and I did all we could to identify this animal.  What we came up with was that it would be a mixture of a red panda, racoon, and okapi.  But we weren’t quite satisfied.

Enhanced image of the animal in question

And then… on Friday, while we were looking for images of kangaroo rats (I have an awesome job), this image popped up (warning: it is not a kangaroo rat):

Turns out the animal that appeared before me in my coffee mug was none other than the Tasmanian Tiger (wearing a Zorro mask).

Mystery solved!

Except not really.  Because the Tasmanian Tiger is  a very mysterious and amazing animal.


  • Its name is thylacine or Thylacinus cyanocephaplus, meaning “wolf-headed pouched-dog”
  • The last confirmed sighting of one in the wild was in 1932.
  • They lived in Australia, New Guinea, and most recently in Tasmania.
  • Its fur was soft.
  • Its temperament was shy and secretive and gave up easily when captured by humans, some dying suddenly of shock.
  • It was a marsupial and both male and female had pouches (the boys to protect their bits, the ladies to hold their babies).
  • The last one in captivity died in 1936. This is Benjamin:

Coincidently, the day I found the picture of the tasmanian tiger and realised that’s what was in my mug, I went onto trailers.apple.com (as I do), and watched the trailer for The Hunter.  The hunter of what?  Of the last tasmanian tiger!

So what does this all mean?


1-  I should go to Tasmania now (and mainland Australia. And while I’m there, might as well go to New Zealand and Indonesia and Malaysia and Vietnam and India…)
2-  It’s time I finally pursue a project with Willem Dafoe.
3- Coffee is magical. Never, ever give it up.