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Legendary "mythical monsters" that turned out to be real — platypuses

Added Sat, 15/10/2022
Дата публикации
Sat, 15/10/2022

The platypus is a strange animal that seems to break many rules. At the time of its first discovery by Europeans, it seemed to contradict everything they thought they knew about mammals.

This is a furry Australian mammal that lives in rivers. He has the legs of an otter and the tail of a beaver. So far, it's not that weird. Then you look at the head and it looks like it has a duck beak, which no other mammal has.

Even stranger is the fact that it lays eggs. Only five modern species of mammals do this: platypuses and four species of anteaters. Before the discovery of the platypus, it was well known that one of the defining characteristics of a mammal is the birth of live offspring.

Besides, the platypus is poisonous! Almost nothing was known about poisonous mammals. The male platypus produces venom from glands attached to the ankle spurs. It is believed that they serve as protection from other males, especially during the mating season. It is not surprising that European naturalists of the 18th and 19th centuries considered the platypus a hoax. When the first platypus corpse arrived in Europe from Australia, scientists did not know what to do with it.

They thought it was the work of Chinese sailors. It was believed that platypus carcasses were just well—assembled fakes of other animals! It took zoologists almost a century to admit their mistake and finally confirm the existence of the platypus.

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