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The genus Sarcophilus contains two other species, known only from Pleistocene fossils: S. The roots of Australian marsupials are thought to trace back tens of millions of years to when much of the current Southern Hemisphere was part of the supercontinent of Gondwana; marsupials are believed to have originated in what is now South America and migrated across Antarctica, which had a temperate climate at the time.
According to Pemberton, the possible ancestors of the devil may have needed to climb trees to acquire food, leading to a growth in size and the hopping gait of many marsupials.
It is seen as an important attractor of tourists to Tasmania and has come to worldwide attention through the Looney Tunes character of the same name.
Starting in 2013, Tasmanian devils are again being sent to zoos around the world as part of the Australian government's Save the Tasmanian Devil Program.
The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is a carnivorous marsupial of the family Dasyuridae.
It was once native to mainland Australia and is now found in the wild only on the island state of Tasmania, including tiny east-coast Maria Island where there is a conservation project with disease-free animals.
Unlike most other dasyurids, the devil thermoregulates effectively and is active during the middle of the day without overheating.It is characterised by its stocky and muscular build, black fur, pungent odour, extremely loud and disturbing screech, keen sense of smell, and ferocity when feeding.The Tasmanian devil's large head and neck allow it to generate among the strongest bites per unit body mass of any extant mammal land predator, and it hunts prey and scavenges carrion as well as eating household products if humans are living nearby.Localised populations of devils have also been severely reduced by collisions with motor vehicles, particularly when they are eating roadkill.The devil is an iconic symbol of Tasmania and many organisations, groups and products associated with the state use the animal in their logos.