Saturday, May 10, 2008
The Platypus is Incredible....
The New York Times ran an article on the duck billed platypus the other day and the facts surrounding this curious creature include: they lay eggs, have venom in spurs on their ankles, nurse their young through their abdominal wall as they have no nipples but are classified as mammals while they share many characteristics with reptiles. So curious...they are small, approximately 2' from bill to tail, are aquatic and live in burrows.
Wikipedia says: The bizarre appearance of this egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal baffled European naturalists when they first encountered it, with some considering it an elaborate fraud. It is one of the few venomous mammals; the male Platypus has a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans. The unique features of the Platypus make it an important subject in the study of evolutionary biology and a recognizable and iconic symbol of Australia; it has appeared as a mascot at national events and is featured on the reverse of the Australian 20 cent coin.
Until the early 20th century it was hunted for its fur, but it is now protected throughout its range. Although captive breeding programs have had only limited success and the Platypus is vulnerable to the effects of pollution, it is not under any immediate threat.
My science entertainment for the day. The babies are called puggles, awwwwww.
Back to the torch, it feels foreign, been away for so long.