A later revision of the devil's taxonomy, published in 1987, attempted to change the species name to Sarcophilus laniarius based on mainland fossil records of only a few animals. However, this was not accepted by the taxonomic community at large; the name S. harrisii has been retained and S. laniarius relegated to a fossil species. "Beelzebub's pup" was an early vernacular name given to it by the explorers of Tasmania, in reference to a religious figure who is a prince of hell and an assistant of Satan; the explorers first encountered the animal by hearing its far-reaching vocalisations at night. 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. The genus Sarcophilus contains two other species, known only from Pleistocene fossils: S. laniarius and S. moomaensis. Phylogenetic analysis shows that the Tasmanian devil is most closely related to quolls.
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