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Related names that were used in the 19th century were Sarcophilus satanicus ("Satanic flesh-lover") and Diabolus ursinus ("bear devil"), all due to early misconceptions of the species as implacably vicious.
The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) belongs to the family Dasyuridae. Phylogenetic analysis shows that the Tasmanian devil is most closely related to quolls.
The size of a small dog, the Tasmanian devil became the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world following the extinction of the thylacine in 1936.
The young grow rapidly and are ejected from the pouch after around 100 days, weighing roughly 200 g (7.1 oz).It is speculated that the devil lineage may have arisen at this time to fill a niche in the ecosystem, as a scavenger that disposed of carrion left behind by the selective-eating thylacine.Critics of this theory point out that as indigenous Australians only developed boomerangs and spears for hunting around 10,000 years ago, a critical fall in numbers due to systematic hunting is unlikely.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.
The young become independent after around nine months, so the female spends most of her year in activities related to birth and rearing.