The Gender of the Last Tasmanian Tiger Was a Mystery for 70 Years


This article was recently made into a video which includes, amongst other things, a brief cameo by a chihuahua. If that doesn’t sound like the raddest shit ever to you, feel free to check out the original article below.

When the last Tasmanian tiger specimen, often known simply as “Benjamin”, died in 1936, the scientific world clambered to find out everything they possibly could about the animal. Weirdly, one of the things that scientists just couldn’t agree on was whether or not Benjamin had a nutsack.

You see, even though Benjamin was literally the last known specimen of his kind in existence, the last Tasmanian tiger known to the world, the government were incredibly slow to introduce any sort of law that would stop people shooting them in the face. In fact, there wasn’t actually  any sort of protection for the species in place until 1936, which you may notice is the same year Benjamin died. It’s noted that the entire species enjoyed a grand total of 59 days of protection before it went extinct because someone dumbass forgot to open Benjamin’s sleeping quarters before they went home, leaving him to freeze to death. Jeez, it’s almost like people wanted this thing to go extinct.

We can't imagine why.
We can’t imagine why.

Before anyone asks, no, that image is in no way altered or Photoshopped, the Tasmanian tiger really did have a mouth that could open wide enough to inhale the souls of children and adults of a nervous disposition. Moving on, in regards to how the last Tasmanian hellbeast came to be known by the name “Benjamin” that’s rather interesting story. In 1968 a guy called Frank Darby gave an interview with an Australian newspaper in which he revealed that he used to be a zoo keeper and had in fact cared for the last Tasmanian tiger. A bold claim considering it was common knowledge at the time that the last Tasmanian tiger had died because its keeper was a fucking idiot. In the same interview, Darby claimed that he had affectionately called the creature Benjamin and it has been known by this name ever since.

He does look like a Benjamin.
He does look like a Benjamin.

But here’s the best part, immediately after Darby gave his interview, the original curator of the zoo accused him of being full of shit and produced a bunch of documentation that Darby had never worked at their zoo and that, as far as any one knew, the last Tasmanian tiger had never been given a nickname. Despite Darby’s claim being so shot full of holes it resembled acne ridden Swiss cheese, the name Benjamin stuck.

Which makes it all the more brilliant that despite being given a male name, Benjamin’s gender was still a huge source of debate for experts. Initially it was believed that Benjamin had been female, due to the fact that in all of the available footage they had of him, they couldn’t see any evidence of a Tasmanian tiger wang. Other scientist disagreed because official documentation regarding Benjamin referred to him as a “he” and made numerous allusions to the fact he had a penis and that he seemed to want to get busy, consistently and thoroughly.

For some reason, the zoo holding Benjamin made no effort to preserve any of his remains leaving scientists with nothing but photographs, documents and an argument that would last 70 years! It wasn’t until 2011 that a conclusive answer on whether or not Benjamin was packing a fuzzy coin purse was reached when a single frame of the last known footage of him was examined and the scientists noticed that, holy shit, Benji had balls!

Good boy.
Good boy.

Sadly that footage is currently in private hands and the frame in question is locked behind a pay wall, but the fact that it took scientists 70 years to find a pair of testicles on a Tasmanian tiger actually make us feel better about that time we spent 20 minutes looking for our keys when they were in our pocket the whole time.