This Week In History News, May 6 – 12

Published May 11, 2018
Updated July 15, 2018

Extinct Tasmanian tiger may be on its way back, world's oldest beer made in Australia, interview with America's last slave ship survivor to be published.

Scientists Are One Big Step Away From Bringing Back The Extinct Tasmanian Tiger

Preserved Thylacine

Museums VictoriaOne of the preserved Thylacine “Tasmanian tiger” pups.

The Tasmanian tiger, aka the thylacine, is still an iconic and symbolic animal in Tasmania. It is to Australia what the Loch Ness Monster is to Scotland. Now scientists are saying that with the use of gene editing and jars of preserved pups, the species may be coming back.

Thylacines were native to Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. They were the largest modern carnivorous marsupial and contained distinct features: structured like a dog, stripes on the lower back, and a pouch like a kangaroo.

Sadly, humans hunted Tasmanian tigers to extinction, with the last living one perishing at Tasmania’s Hobart Zoo in 1936.

With new technology picking up in recent years, “de-extinction” is becoming a more serious science.

A new DNA tool called CRISPR is a gene-editing technique that can be used to recreate the genetic blueprint of an animal.

Dig deeper here.

Brewers Use Yeast Found In 220-Year-Old Shipwreck To Create “World’s Oldest Beer”

Squire Wreck Beer

James Squire BreweryKnown as “The Wreck,” the beer will go on sale in select locations in June.

A team of Australian brewers is using yeast found in 200-year-old bottles of alcohol in an attempt to create the world’s oldest beer.

Twenty years ago, a team of divers came across the wreck of the Sydney Cove. In 1796, the ship set sail from Calcutta, India, for Sydney, Australia. Unfortunately, along the way it sank, taking with it 31,500 liters of tightly-sealed 18th-century booze.

When the divers came across the ship’s contents, they were amazed to see that the alcohol had survived 200 years underwater. Today, it remains the world’s oldest surviving bottled alcohol on record.

The alcohol was analyzed once it was brought to the surface, revealing the contents to be port wine, grapes, and beer. Now, using yeast found on the ship, brewers with Australia’s oldest brewery are hoping to recreate this bottled beer.

See more in this report.

Zora Neale Hurston’s Interviews With Cudjo Lewis Set To Be Published After 80 Years

Lewis Hurston

History.comCudjo Lewis, left, and Zora Neale Hurston.

In the early 1930s, famed author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston attempted to publish a book of interviews she’d conducted with former slaves, but to no avail. Now, more than 80 years later, the interviews are being released to the public.

The book, titled Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo”, chronicles the life of Cudjo Lewis, the last surviving slave from the last slave ship to bring Africans to the United States.

Read more here.

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