THE scientific name of a Tasmanian devil is Sarcophilus harrisii. The first of the binomial name Sarcophilus is a genus to which all the carnivorous marsupials belong. Tasmanian devil is the only living member of the genus Sarcophilus following the extinction of thylcine in the mid twentieth century. Let’s discuss some more facts about Tasmanian devil scientific name, its origin, as well as the first person to give devil a name.
Tasmanian Devil Scientific Name – How Did the Devil Get its Name – Tasmanian Devil Name Origin
First Person to Name Devil
- Pierre Boitard was the first person who gave name to a Tasmanian devil.
- Boitard was the French botanist and he died in 1859.
How Did the Tasmanian Devil Get its Name
- The first scientific name of a Tasmanian devil was Didelphis ursina. George Harris, a naturalist gave this name in 1807. He thought that the devil resembled bears in characteristic features.
- In 1838 Richard Owen gave Tasmanian devil a name Dasyurus laniarius.
- The scientific name of a devil is Sarcophilus harrisii which means ‘meat-lover’.
- There are two more species in the genus Sacrophilus. These are; laniarius and S. moomaensis. They are only found in Pleistocene fossils.
- Tasmanian devils are nocturnal species that is they become active at night. During feeding devils produce loud screeching sounds particularly when they fight over the meal. The early settlers might have possibly thought that these sounds are of the devil.
- The early European settlers had named devil as Beelzebub which is the biblical translation for the Tasmanian devil. That is how the devil got its name.
Long, J., Archer, M., Flannery, T. and Hand, S. 2002. Prehistoric Mammals of Australia and New Guinea: One Hundred Million Years of Evolution. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp 55. ISBN 0-8018-7223-5.