The Tasmanian devil, Sarcophilus laniarius (formerly known as Sarcophilus harrisii), is a dasyurid marsupial and is superficially bear-like in appearance. As is evident from the common name, this taxon is found only on the island of Tasmania; however, subfossils are found on the mainland of Australia in sediments as recent as 400 years old. Despite the reputation of being highly ferocious, the tasmanian devil is actually fairly docile when handled by humans. S. laniarius is primarily a scavenger, and its diet consists of the carrion of wombats, sheep, and rabbits. The skull and teeth reflect this mode of life and are very robust. The molars resemble those of hyenas and are well-designed to crush bones (Nowak, 1999).
About the Species
This specimen (USNM 307639) was collected from Tasmania on 8 August 1958. It was made available to the University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility for scanning by Tim Rowe of the University of Texas. Funding for scanning was provided by a National Science Foundation Digital Libraries Initiative grant to Dr. Rowe.
About this Specimen
The specimen was scanned by Matthew Colbert on 4 February 2004 along the coronal axis for a total of 585 slices, each slice 0.239 mm thick with an interslice spacing of 0.239 mm.
Nowak, R. M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, 6th ed., vol. I. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, 836 pp.