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Emmerichs Thylacine
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Overview

In February 2005, German tourists to Australia Klaus Emmerichs and partner Birgit Jansen claimed to have photographed a live Tasmanian tiger (thylacine) in Tasmania.

News broke in the media. The couple returned to Germany, leaving Klaus' brother to handle enquiries.

The 2 photographs were shown to experts in Tasmania. The initial reaction was that they showed a thylacine but there was no certainty that the photos were genuine.

Soon after, professional opinion began to change. Questions were raised about the similarity between Emmerichs' thylacine and an animal photographed in the 1930s by David Fleay.

There were also unanswered questions about the timestamps on those 2 images being recorded in a different display format than that of other images in the same sequence.

Mr Emmerichs contended that the fact the images were recorded on his camera's memory (A Caplio), rather than a data storage card, indicated the photographs were genuine. Seemingly in response, the Sydney Morning Herald published genuine photographs of a cardboard-cutout thylacine to show that Emmerichs' reasoning does not guarantee the images are not a hoax.

Finally, the colour quality of the thylacine photos differed significantly from other photographs in that sequence. Emmerichs claimed the camera was incorrectly set to "night mode", thus resulting in the discrepancy.

Where Light Meets Dark

The Emmerichs photos were the inspiration behind launching the Where Light Meets Dark website. I conducted a number of geometric analyses of the photographs and contended that they were genuine photographs of a real-life scene.

This left only the question of whether it was a live thylacine in that scene, or some other object such as a taxidermy or cardboard-cutout.

Although I met with Klaus and Birgit in 2007, they would only permit me to view the image on the camera itself. Thus there was not any opportunity to look at the image in detail. I did view the other images in the sequence either side, and observed the discrepancies in colour quality that had been referred to by others.

Publication of the photographs

The first publication of the photographs was made 14 months after their initial announcement. Conditions were placed over the publication, which was in a Tasmanian newspaper. Publication outside Tasmania would incur an additional licence fee.

At the same time a magazine in Europe was also granted permission to publish the photographs.

Popular cryptozoology blog, Cryptomundo had the images briefly online at this time and was asked to remove them by the licence holder in Europe. Where Light Meets Dark had published numerous versions of the images also, each with notes and diagrams overlaid to illustrate various features of the photographs. WLMD also removed the images from publication at this time.

In 2009 Emmerichs granted permission to the US television show Monster Quest to include the photographs in its episode, Isle of the Lost Tiger.

Analysis

There is a wealth of articles on this website related to the Emmerichs thylacine. The majority were written prior to 2008. Soon after their initial publication, all images containing the Emmerichs photographs were removed on request of Mr Emmerichs. You can read these articles in the Emmerichs thylacine archive.

[19/8/09 Note: more coming soon]


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