A reptile platypus from the early Triassic

No animal alive today looks quite like a duckbilled platypus, but about 250 million years ago something very similar swam the shallow seas in what is now China, finding prey by touch with a cartilaginous bill. The newly discovered ...

Platypus venom could hold key to diabetes treatment

Australian researchers have discovered remarkable evolutionary changes to insulin regulation in two of the nation's most iconic native animal species - the platypus and the echidna - which could pave the way for new treatments ...

How the echidna lost its venom

(Phys.org) —The function of a spur on the hind leg of echidnas has been revealed by research at the University of Sydney.

Fossil of largest known platypus discovered in Australia

No living mammal is more peculiar than the platypus. It has a broad, duck-like bill, thick, otter-like fur, and webbed, beaver-like feet. The platypus lays eggs rather than gives birth to live young, its snout is covered ...

Genetic safety in numbers, platypus study finds

(Phys.org) -- Platypuses on the Australian mainland and in Tasmania are fighting fit but those on small islands are at high risk of being wiped out from disease, according to a University of Sydney study.

Platypus helps shed new light on mammalian evolution

(PhysOrg.com) -- A large international study published today in Nature has revealed new insights into how the regulation of the entire genome has changed during mammalian evolution over the past 200 million years.

Dolphins have ability to sense electrical signals

In a new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers reveal the discovery of how the Guiana dolphin, Sotalia guianensis, is able to sense electric fields of prey in the water using structures found ...

page 1 from 2

Platypus

The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is a semi-aquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. It is the sole living representative of its family (Ornithorhynchidae) and genus (Ornithorhynchus), though a number of related species have been found in the fossil record.

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 having 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 recognisable 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. The platypus is the animal emblem of the state of New South Wales.

Until the early 20th century, it was hunted for its fur, but it is now protected throughout its range. Although captive breeding programmes have had only limited success and the platypus is vulnerable to the effects of pollution, it is not under any immediate threat.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA