Facts about Platypus
The most unusual living mammals
Platypus is a representative of the monotremes, which are the missing link in evolution between reptiles and mammals. It's an endemic species living only in Australia and Tasmania. Animal has the surreal appearance of a hybrid created from a combination of beaver, duck and otter. It is proof of the immense power of evolution and nature in general.
1Monotremes are an order of primitive oviparous mammals.
Their Latin name - Monotremata refers to the fact that their digestive, excretory, and reproductive systems share a common duct named cloaca.
2Monotremes are the missing link between reptiles and mammals.
They separated from reptiles in the Mesozoic Era (200-160 million years ago) and inhabited the supercontinent of Gondwana. Fossilized bones of monotremes were found not only in Australia, but also in South America. They were larger than those living today, could reach up to a meter in length.
3The Ornithorhynchidae family, to which the Platypus belongs, appeared in Australia about 15 million years ago.
Nowadays they live on the east coast of Australia and in Tasmania.
4It is an endemic and semiaquatic species.
Water is natural habitat for those animals. They can be found in small, turbid rivers and streams, but also on the Tasmanian hills, in the Australian Alps, in tropical equatorial forests off the coast of Queensland and in the northern part of the York Peninsula.
5The Platypus was heard of in Europe in 1798, when the second governor of New South Wales, John Hunter, sent a pelt of an Aboriginal hunted pecker to Britain.
British scientists did not believe in the authenticity of the specimen, it was even assumed to have been crafted by an extremely skilled Asian taxidermist, by sewing a duck's beak onto the body of a beaver.
6The first description of the animal was made by George Shaw, describing it as a most unusual mammalian specimen.
The animal was given the official scientific name Ornithorhynchus anatinus, which means in Greek "bird's mouth", and from the Latin adjective anatinus - "duck".
7The Platypus is a small animal.
Its body length ranges from 45-60 cm (males 45-60 cm and females 43 cm). Its weight, on the other hand, varies from 1 to 2.4 kg. The platypus' body and flat tail are covered with thick brown fur that retains heat. The fur has the ability to fluoresce in intense green and blue. The tail stores fat as an energy reserve.
8It has a characteristic beak that is large and soft.
It does not act as a mouth, it is a sensory organ, while the mouth is located underneath it. The nostrils are located on the top of the beak.
9The eyes and ears are located in a groove at the back of the nostrils.
When swimming, the groove closes. The entrance to the ear canal is located at the base of the skull.
10They have webbed feet.
The legs of the platypus are placed on the sides of the body, which is a reptilian feature of this animal, as mammals have their legs under the body. Another reptilian feature is that the platypus steps on its toe bones on land, so it does not damage its toe membrane. When it moves slowly, its torso touches the ground. It lifts its body when it is in a hurry.