The thylacine or Tasmanian tiger went extinct almost a century ago and the last images taken of it were still in grayscale like many other photographs taken during that time. Fast forward and now the advancements of technology have allowed humans to not only take a colorized photo but also to put color into old photographs.
The National Film Sound Archive (NFSA) of Australia was able to colorize a 1933 footage of the extinct Tasmanian tiger to show what it would look like if it is still alive today.
What Is a Tasmanian Tiger?
According to the Australian Museum, the thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) or Tasmanian tiger is a large carnivorous marsupial that has become extinct and only one member was able to survive in the 20th century.
Tasmanian tigers had about 15 to 20 dark stripes across their back from their shoulders to the tail. Also, it is said to be yellowish-brow to gray in color, but unlike the usual tiger, its head mostly resembles that of a dog and has shorter legs and a stiff tail.
Moreover, it had erect short ears, rounder and covered fur, and jaws that were both powerful and large. Females have back-opening pouches where their cubs could stay because they tend to be dependent on the mother until they are at least half-grown. Although, some males were also seen to have back-opening and partial pouch.
The reason why it went extinct is not precise but it appears that the decline in its population may have been a result of competition with the Dingo and hunting pressures from humans. Additionally, their extinction was probably hastened by the introduction of domesticated dogs.
They went extinct about 2,000 years ago, but the last one was filmed in 1933 by naturalist David Fleay. They named the last Tasmanian tiger as Benjamin who died in 1936 at Hobart Zoo.
Tasmanian Tiger in Colorized and 4K Film
The old technology of black and white does not give justice to history. The videos and photos from the past were sometimes blurry and indistinct. But with the advancements of technology, humans today can see a colorized and improved versions of those old photos and films.
The 1933 film shot by Fleay has been professionally colorized for the first time. According to Wonderful Engineering, the NFSA created a 4K scan of the 1933 film sent to Samuel François-Steininger and his team at Composite Films in Paris.
They recreated the color and pattern of the Tasmanian tiger in the video by studying different specimens preserved in the museum because there are no colored pictures of the thylacine that exists. More so, they consulted different sketches and scientific drawings to produce the closest possible color of the original color of the extinct thylacine.
"From a technological point of view, we did everything digitally - combining digital restoration, rotoscoping and 2D animation, lighting, AI algorithms for the movement and the noise, compositing, and digital grading," François-Steininger said as quoted by the news outlet.
It took them 200 hours to achieve a colorized 77-second video in 4K of the extinct tiger pacing around his cage, as well as sitting, yawning, and relaxing under the Sun. The video is proof that videos of other extinct animals can also be transformed into colored ones so people could remember them after all these years.
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