But researchers at the University of New South Wales say the thylacine's notoriety was probably undeserved.
The scientists say the tiger's jaws were so weak they may not have been capable of killing sheep.
Kathryn Medlock, a senior curator at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; Marie Attard, PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales.
SELINA BRYAN: The thylacine or Tasmanian tiger had a fearsome reputation as a sheep killer. The sheep killing problem was considered so big that in 1830 a bounty was put on the Tasmanian tiger.
KATHRYN MEDLOCK: The bounty paid one pound for an animal. And you weren't allowed to claim, to prevent a second claim being made the skin and the body had to be destroyed.
SELINA BRYAN: That's Kathryn Medlock, a senior curator at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
By the time the bounty was dropped more than 2,000 Tasmanian tigers had been killed.
The species was declared officially extinct 25 years ago but new research is showing that the Tasmanian tigers may not have even been capable of killing sheep.
Marie Attard is a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales.
MARIE ATTARD: I was trying to look at what size prey thylacines were able to take down. As a very large predator you would hope that it would be taking down a range of different types of prey, including large kangaroos and emus. But my research is actually showing a whole different story altogether.
SELINA BRYAN: How did you go about this research?
MARIE ATTARD: Well I'd actually done a scan of the thylacine's skull using a hospital CAT scanner. And using that we can form a three-dimensional digital image of the skull. And what we do is we can digitally crash test that skull to test its mechanical strength.
It's actually quite similar to the software that engineers use to look for weak points in materials used to build man-made objects such as bridges and aircraft wings.
SELINA BRYAN: She found the animals had weak jaws and were limited in what size prey they could attack.
MARIE ATTARD: If you think about a sheep it weighs about 90 kilos and thylacines were about 30 kilos. And their jaws were just too weak to be able to take on something that big.
Even though it had quite a large body and a large head it actually wasn't really very good at eating big animals.
SELINA BRYAN: She believes instead of eating sheep the Tasmanian tigers ate small animals such as bandicoots and possums.
Even if the tigers did attack sheep Kathryn Medlock believes the problem was exaggerated.
KATHRYN MEDLOCK: At one stage on the east coast someone accused them of killing 30,000 sheep and probably there weren't that many sheep in Tasmania at the time.
SELINA BRYAN: The research has been published in the Journal of Zoology and coincides with this month's 75th anniversary of the death of the last known Tasmanian tiger at Hobart Zoo.