i’ll take a breath
because there are few rules
i’ll take a plunge
road trip stop at Broken River
I saw one of Evolution’s ridiculous marvels in the wild – the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)! I’m not sure why but my childhood understanding of the platypus had me expecting it to be the size of a dugong. They are tiny swimmers though, measuring in at a little over a foot.
Let’s explore this animal’s myriad curiosities.
The duck-bill; an electrified hunting shovel, similar to that of a paddlefish. The bill contains sensors that detect changes in electrical fields to hone in on prey. A handy tool since a platypus’ other senses are rather useless underwater when its eyes, ears and nostrils are closed!
The hats; because the internet.
The hair; it’s very dense, like on otters.
The eggs; a “WTF evolution” moment for sure. Yes, platypus are an egg-laying mammal. They also lactate without nipples.
The webbed feet; because the duck-bill wasn’t ducky-enough. Webbed feet are certainly appropriate for the platypus’ aquatic life. The claws apparently make for decent ability to walk on grass.
The venom; because platypus wanted to be like reptiles. Males have a particularly nasty spur on their back feet that secretes a venom.
The beaver tail; because Australians like visiting Canada.
So platypus are really just an egg-laying-paddlefish-duck-otter-venomous-reptile-lactating-mammal-beaver hybrid. And if modern day platypus aren’t intriguing enough, imagine if they were the size of dugongs!
“Platypus Diagram”, Jez Kemp