Thylacine Photo Overlays

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on July 31st, 2006

Below are the overlays done by Alton Higgins that were discussed in the previous post here on Cryptomundo regarding these photos ostensibly of a thylacine.

The overlay is made using one of the photos taken by Mr. Emmerichs and overlaying it with that of a known thylacine.

The photos have been removed from Cryptomundo at the request of Mr. Emmerichs. Please see the this post on Cryptomundo titled, The Case of the Missing Thylacine, for the reason why.

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

36 Responses to “Thylacine Photo Overlays”

  1. JRC responds:

    I still contend that these photos (as we are seeing them) aren’t evidence of much if anything, but I did find these overlays helpful. Though they seem to lend credence to the speculation that these folks altered an existing photo of the creature. Thanks to Alton Higgins. What a marvelous creature this was and hopefully it still is.

  2. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Great work Alton!

  3. Fisheslayer_84 responds:

    I dont know, the pics are really iffy, the overlays help a little. Maybe its just me but it looks like the stripes from the originals line up with the overlays a little to perfect, or maybe it’s the way I’am seeing it.

  4. JRC responds:

    No Fisheslayer_84 you’re correct. The stripes look pretty dead on in both. Like I said in my previous post, it lends credence to the skepticism.

  5. paperdragon responds:

    To me it would have helped if the overlay image was facing the same direction as the head? of the creature in the photo. When I look at the picture I see what appears to be open jaws with fangs and a black snout.

  6. youcantryreachingme responds:

    I have to say, I am just a little perplexed by the overlays. As mentioned earlier in the comments, the known image, including stripes, seems to line up perfectly.

    The main redeeming factor, however, which still keeps the Emmerichs photo in the realm of possibility is that even in the Cryptomundo header image you have a known photo of the thylacine, which is different to that used in the overlay, which (apart from being mirror-images) holds almost exactly the same pose yet again. (I’m talking about the tail and rear leg positioning here).

    As I mentioned in the first article, the thylacine was commonly photographed and/or filmed taking this pose, including sniffing up at the air.

  7. shovethenos responds:

    Is that copy of the original still from a newspaper scan? (Looks like it, there seems to be visible wrinkles on the image.) If someone could get their hands on digital copies of the picture and post it any analyses would be a lot more effective.

  8. youcantryreachingme responds:

    shovethenos (7) – don’t we know it!

  9. oldbutnotstupid responds:

    I still think they are fakes, One sees what one wants to see in such poor photos. It could be bigfoot in a prison suit for all we know. but I honestly hope I’m wrong. What a beautiful creature.

  10. jayman responds:

    It looks like what he’s done is decided a vague feature is a tail and used that to anchor his overlay. It does impose some order on what were ambiguous blobs. But the problem is that the “tail” may be only an artifact of enlargement, since this is a scanned print and not an original.

  11. Ole Bub responds:

    Excellent Work Alton….

    Folks who have never seen your work up close have missed a real learning experience…JMHO

    seeing is believing…

    ole bub and the dawgs

  12. harleyb responds:

    Looks really real.

  13. One Eyed Cat responds:

    It would be good to see the original photos, the overlay does help me make sense out of the scanned photos, but the shape of the object is making me think it was facing the oposite direction of the overlay photo.

  14. shumway10973 responds:

    Well, I will say that the overlay did help. I was looking at the pics completely backwards originally. Originally I thought the snout was where the tail is. I must agree that this photo has something not quite right about it. Not sure if it is the exactness of the two pics to each other or the fact that to me the stripes in amongst the foliage looks to me like ferns or something like that. I have seen pics of coyotes trudging thru fern groves and when the light hit the coyote just right, with a fern in the way, he looked like he had stripes.

  15. youcantryreachingme responds:

    shumway (14) – Col Bailey clarified in the original post that the original images were “distorted … somewhat to guard against reproduction”

  16. moregon responds:

    I’m thinking on the same lines as a lot of the others here, there’s just TOO MUCH similarity between the alleged photo, and the one used to produce the overlay.

  17. paperdragon responds:

    The overlay does not explain what appears to be an upper jaw with 2 fangs pointing down. I see little or no correlation between the picture and the overlay other that at the point where the stripes might match.

  18. One Eyed Cat responds:

    paperdragon what you see as a jaw I think makes more sense as the upper tail, especially as it appears there are stripes on that section — and where it is as the overlay becomes more visible.

  19. twblack responds:

    With out the overlays I still do not see much of anything.

  20. Sky King responds:

    Too bad for them I’m not more gullible. I believe this: if you dress a pig up in the best finery, all you got is a dressed-up PIG.

  21. sausage1 responds:

    Sorry, what am I actually looking at here? In my eyes, fisheslayer has a point. The tuchus on the known thylacine seems to be on the snout of the alleged one.

    That or its a REALLY big wasp, in which case don’t picnic here.

  22. Dark-Obsessor responds:

    That doesn’t prove anything, those overlays. The bodies aren’t of the same size and therefore they have different physical structures. The entire body of the overlayed thylacine looks digital; the stripes are not riffled like the fur around them. Although it’s a good try, it doesn’t convince me that photograph is anything other than a REAL known animal, like a tiger or something. It’s not that convincing. And, as others have said, the original photograph of whatever seems to be facing either an opposite direction or something. I don’t know if it is a thylacine or not, but, I’m not convinced.

  23. Col Bailey responds:

    A full report of this story was entered 25 April 2006 on the Tasmanian Times website.

    As I have already said, I have thoroughly investigated this matter and I note your various comments regarding the above photo overlays.

    While I find them most interesting, they fail to prove anything of substance.

    In short, it is a rather valiant but groundless attempt to prove the photo a fake.

    You will note that the arch of the back in the original photo is mostpronounced, while the back arch on David Fleay’s 1934 black and white photo is almost flat. That animal was a male and a big tiger at that.

    The animal in the coloured photo appears to be a female and this fact was made all the more possible by Kause’s testimony on the event in which he said he heard strange snuffling noises further along the log, which indicated there may have been young at foot.

    While this photo continues to provoke much interest and general debate, which is most gratifying, It does not eliminate the possiblity that this photo is the real deal.

    To be perfectly honest, there is much more to this story that meets the eye.

    Try as you may, it will not prove one way or the other that the thylacine still exists.

    The true acid test to end this saga once and for all is for someone to come up with a live or freshly dead thylacine.

    And knowing the Tasmanian bush as I do, one has to know in which area to centralize the search, and here is where local knowledge becomes acutely important.

    Maybe we know already and won’t tell! Only time will reveal all in this most enduring puzzle.

  24. Chicago Dan responds:

    Sorry folks but I have to agree with those who see nothing. It will take more than this to lift the poor Thylacine out the realm of extinction.

    Nice effort though on the overlay. Good job but the original image should speak for itself with out having to be explained or enhanced etc.

  25. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Col Bailey wrote (23) “Maybe we know already and won’t tell! Only time will reveal all in this most enduring puzzle

    … and I must say, a most intriguing comment! 🙂

  26. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    yeah, I thought the creature was supposed to be pointing in the opposite direction of the overlay.

    All the overlay does, in my opinion, is point out that there are indeed alternating bands of dark and light (which I could already see) other than that it doesn’t make me see something I didn’t previously notice. The non-overlayed photos are still just blurry blobs to me.

    In a college photography class we did double exposures and, when the eye was looking for patterns, you could see where the “lines” of a face and the “lines” of a piece of driftwood “lined up”. But that doesn’t mean these known double exposures were images of “ghost faces” in a stump. It just means the human mind fills in missing details.

    Alton does great work, there is no denying it, but a pig in lipstick is still a pig, and the original source photo is one sloppy pig.

    I would hope someplace the thylacine is holding out. But these images just aren’t enough.

  27. cryptolover responds:

    Does anyone have known mating yelps of a thylacine if so this may be worth using in searching. Use night cameras with a device to play the calls often and maybe some pheremone of some sort and a bait that is known that thylacines eat. You have all senses here or maybe make a replica of some and leave them in a pack near a location that has had sightings over long period of time and play the mating yelps if they had any. I have heard of people trying this before for other animals using calls but how do you know what these calls mean? Maybe the only call ever taped happen to be when they were sending a warning yelp and so if you play that all the time the animal would never come it would run away. But if you had a known tape of a mating type yelp where it was proven that this is what the sound means then you may have better chance, who knows if any of the thylacine tapes are calls of mating.

  28. youcantryreachingme responds:

    cryptolover (27) – there are no known audio recordings of the thylacine.

  29. youcantryreachingme responds:

    According to Robert Paddle’s book The Last Tasmanian Tiger, trappers used the sounds of newborn puppies, and also the sounds that mother goats and their kids made when the two were separated. (ie, cart a mother goat and her newbord kids into the bush, then separate them and let them bleat away)

  30. BLinkThylacine responds:

    As my ‘nym suggests, I’m primarily drawn to this site because I’m entranced by the idea that the Thylacine may still be out there.

    I want to believe. But these photos are useless, imho.

    There are stripes in the original photo, but what moved the “overlayer” to decide that the orientation in that photo was in any way similar to the orientation of their overlay? I can’t see an animal shape in the photo – that Mr. Higgins decided that he saw an animal in that picture standing like the overlay in the zoo means next to nothing.

    Someday, I would like to pet a Thylacine. The evidence presented so far of its continued existence, including these photos, make me less hopeful some live in the wild. I’ll continue to place my hope in DNA splicing.

  31. Chinagirl responds:

    Hi–this is for Col. In your first post, you mentioned that the photos from the German tourist have been published in a European magazine. I have done many searches, but have not turned up anything. Do you know what magazine, and which issue, it was? I would like to see better copies of the photos than the ones made from newspaper scans that we can get on this site.

    Since you interviewed him at length, maybe he could better clarify what we are seeing in the photos. Is that one, or two animals, in the first photo? Which way is it (or they) facing? What exactly are we seeing in the second photo?

    I think it is fascinating that you have met this man, and will join him later this year in your search for the thylacine. I hope that more will appear about this entire story. I hope that you will continue to write more about it here, as well as anything else you can add with regards to your current search for the thylacine.

    I don’t think that it all ended for this animal in 1936, but I don’t know what the current situation might be. I feel that many of the sightings over the years have been credible. I am concerned that there may not be enough good habitat left to support whatever remnants might be left today. I want to believe that thylacines are still clinging to existence somewhere in Tasmania.

  32. Col Bailey responds:

    Hi Chinagirl,

    Thanks for your comments.

    I’m waiting on a copy of the magazine at the moment.

    I don’t know its name but I do know its not written in English.I’ll let you know when I recieve it.

    There is only one thylacine in each photo-the same animal – as only one was seen. Two progressive shots were taken as it moved along behind the log in the foreground.

    The animal is moving from left to right and while in one photo it is mainly obscured, in the second it becomes more cleary visible.

    It has been said that the foliage appears foriegn to the area and this is true to some extent. This area was habitated by prospectors early last century looking for various minerals and they are resposible for introducing various non-indiginous species to this particular locality, some of which have acclimatised and still survive today.

    You are correct in your assumption that it didn’t all end for the thylacine in 1936. Those that advocate this are extremely naive and cannot see past their noses.

    Speculation over the years since 1936 has ebbed and flowed, and we simply cannot dismiss the many hundreds of quality sightings of the Tasmanian tiger by all manner of people in Tasmania post 1936.

    I can assure you that there remains ample habitat to enable a number of thylacine to still survive in the hinterland of the island, many of these areas being almost uninhabitable. I have penetrated some of these pure wilderness areas, much like you still have in the States, and I can assure you I have seen enough to convince me the thylacine still survives.

    Some would say impossible, as it would have bred itself out by now, but no, it appears this did not happen.

    Here we have an animal that must, like certian other of our marsupial species, be able to in-breed without any adverse complications.

    Sure, Tasmania is only an island the size of Ireland, but bear in mind our population stands at only 450,000 and there are still vast areas that have seldom seen a human foot.

    The biggest threat now comes from logging – that insidious ever-creeping scourge that is steadilly reducing huge stands of pristine old-growth forests to woodchips.

    This medium is the single biggest threat to not only the thylacine, but a host of other indiginous animals to be found nowhere else in the world.
    Sadly, our beautiful Shangrila is fast disappearing to that common evil they call greed -some dare to call it progress.

    The tigers are still clinging on, but believe me, it is only a matter of time before the bubble bursts and they are proven to still exist. I shudder to think of the consequences should this event not be handled delicately and responsibly by the both the Tasmanian and Federal Governments. As always, the buck stops with them, although in this particular case, I fear they simply won’t know which way to go with it and bureaucratic bungling may well spell a tragic end to the thylacine.

    The answer to this perlexing puzzle is, as always, blowing in the wind!

  33. Dark-Obsessor responds:

    I think we can all agree, then, that there is SOMETHING there, though its species and identity remain a mystery due to the horrible quality.

    And if they did distort it to ‘detur reproduction’ they ruined valuable evidence because noone sees a thylacine! The overlays do not help! You could overlay a picture of me with a tiger and note many similarities in clothing lines, etc.

    I see nothing.

  34. Chinagirl responds:

    Hi Col–Thanks for the informative reply. I have some more questions about these photos by Klause.

    After studying the overlay above made by Alton Higgins, I feel that the series helps me to discern a possible thylacine in that photo. I know that David Fleay’s photo is not an exact match, nor could it be, since it is not the same exact animal. However, the overlay does suggest how the tiger was standing when Klause took the picture.

    Since you have had the advantage of seeing better versions of what we can see here from the scan of a newspaper photo, how accurate is the overlay relative to what we are seeing here? Is it similar, pretty much, to what Klause said he saw and photographed? I just want to know if I am looking at the picture correctly.

    While I have never seen a Tassie tiger in the wild, I have seen an Asiatic tiger in Nepal. I went to the various game parks many, many times, and seeing a live tiger was always considered the big prize. I finally did, on my last elephant ride of my last trip.

    Even now, I remember the fleeting glimpse of yellow and black stripes, darting through the jungles of Chitwan National Park. The whole “sighting” was maybe 2 seconds. I had a camera at hand; no way could I have photographed that rapidly running animal. All of us saw it.

    I am only adding that to make the point that I fully understand how incredibly difficult it is to get a decent photo–or any photo, for that matter–of a secretive, rarely-seen animal that is running through the bush. Even in my mind’s eye, as I look back on that trip, that Asiatic tiger is just a running blur of fur and flesh. I never would have had time to even touch my camera to get a photo before it was gone. Had I had my camera in hand, any snap I would have taken would have been of a rapidly moving blur, and only a bit of it, at that.

  35. MrInspector responds:

    I think someone is reading a bit much into this photo. It appears, to me, to be nothing more than a picture of a fern leaf through foliage. It is also apparent that this is a digital photo printed out onto a piece of paper and then scanned back to a computer. Does anyone have access to the original digital photo? Too much detail has been lost to allow for any real analysis.

  36. youcantryreachingme responds:

    MrInspector (34) – the image is a scan of a newspaper clipping of intentionally modified versions of digital originals.

    I agree the quality is poor, but I disagree that no real analysis can be carried out because by having two images, they can be compared for their composition; for example, are all the elements in the photos consistently placed between photos?

    To answer your question, yes, Col Bailey has seen the originals, and he has commented a number of times both in this thread and in the original announcement. They have not been released to the public however.

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