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Platypus

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Southpaw
102806.  Fri Oct 13, 2006 8:54 am Reply with quote

The Platypus is one of the most QI animals. It is one of very few mammals (namely two) that lays eggs, the other being the Echidna. The definition of a mammal isn't, as many suppose, that they give birth to live young, but that they suckle their young. However, the Platypus is again nearly unique in that it has no nipples - it essentialy 'sweats' milk.

As if that wasn't enough, it is also the only poisonous mammal, having a poisonous spur above the heel of each hind leg.

 
Tas
102813.  Fri Oct 13, 2006 9:18 am Reply with quote

Quote:
The definition of a mammal isn't, as many suppose, that they give birth to live young, but that they suckle their young. However, the Platypus is again nearly unique in that it has no nipples - it essentialy 'sweats' milk.


The word 'mammal' has the same etymology as 'mammary'. The mammary glands are effectively specialised sweat glands, I seem to recall, so Mrs Platypus is not quite as unique as she thought she was...

:-)

Tas

 
Ameena
102814.  Fri Oct 13, 2006 9:19 am Reply with quote

Ahh oooh AWOOGA AWOOGA - Isn't the platypus a type of beetle thingy? But the duck-billed platypus is the aquatic monotreme to which you are referring ;). They covered that in umm Series C (I think)...





Edit - corrected below-mentioned typo :P


Last edited by Ameena on Fri Oct 13, 2006 9:25 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Tas
102818.  Fri Oct 13, 2006 9:24 am Reply with quote

Quote:
duck-nilled platypus


shurly thish is shome mishtake?

:-)

Tas

(With apologies to Seen Canary)

 
Ameena
102820.  Fri Oct 13, 2006 9:25 am Reply with quote

Ohh arrgh whoops, d'oh... <edits it>

 
Tas
102822.  Fri Oct 13, 2006 9:28 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Ohh arrgh whoops, d'oh... <edits it>


So eloquently put, Ameena!

:-)

Tas

 
thePhantom
102909.  Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:53 pm Reply with quote

the duck billed platypus was the last creature that god created, it was only made to use all the spare bits up.

 
Anome
103223.  Sat Oct 14, 2006 9:06 pm Reply with quote

Southpaw wrote:
The Platypus is one of the most QI animals. It is one of very few mammals (namely two) that lays eggs, the other being the Echidna. The definition of a mammal isn't, as many suppose, that they give birth to live young, but that they suckle their young. However, the Platypus is again nearly unique in that it has no nipples - it essentialy 'sweats' milk.

I believe there is a particular bone-structure in the ear which is used to identify mammals these days. More useful when trying to identify fossils than looking for breast tissue that wasn't preserved.

Live young wouldn't be very useful as a definition, anyway, since there are many non-mammallian species that are viviparous: some species of each sharks, snakes, lizards, and spiders.
Quote:
As if that wasn't enough, it is also the only poisonous mammal, having a poisonous spur above the heel of each hind leg.

I got told off for this one once. There are actually species of shrew that have venomous saliva, so they aren't unique in that regard either.

They are quite interesting, both the duck-billed platypus, and the echidna. It's often thought that they're less evolved than the marsupials or placentals, but that's not correct. The monotremes just evolved in different directions to the other mammals. (Similarly marsupials didn't stop evolving after they split from placentals either.)

For instance, both the platypus and the echidna have evolved an array of electro-magnetic sense organs in their snouts. They use these to find their prey. A platypus can home in on food while swimming underwater with its eyes tightly shut, while an echidna uses its slightly less sensitive ability to find where the termites are in a given nest.

 
Ejob
103281.  Sun Oct 15, 2006 7:56 am Reply with quote

Anome wrote:
Live young wouldn't be very useful as a definition, anyway, since there are many non-mammallian species that are viviparous: some species of each sharks, snakes, lizards, and spiders.


And guppies (Poecilia reticulata)! Mine just gave birth :).

And this made me discover this QI fact, which might as well be an urban myth: guppies were released into Corus' cooling water in IJmuiden, the Netherlands, producing a population of 12 cm long fish.

 
WordLover
117764.  Sat Nov 18, 2006 10:34 am Reply with quote

Ameena wrote:
Ahh oooh AWOOGA AWOOGA - Isn't the platypus a type of beetle thingy? But the duck-billed platypus is the aquatic monotreme to which you are referring ;).
Easy on the klaxon! You're right that Platypus is a genus of ambrosia beetles. However, we're talking about the platypus. As you'll know from QI, the puffin is not Puffinus. Likewise, the platypus is not Platypus.

 
andrewmorris
125310.  Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:17 pm Reply with quote

Strangely the shoulder girdle arangement of the duck-billed platypus is reptilian in structure rather than mammalian as might have been presumed. Also, did I see the 'C' word earlier?! Shocking language for the QI forum. Surely you meant "when the platypus evolved".

 
eggshaped
149493.  Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:31 pm Reply with quote

Duck billed platypus testicles do not descend, rather they stay near the kidneys throughout its whole life.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/2007/1849571.htm

 
Spinoza
149498.  Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:49 pm Reply with quote

I believe the duck-billed platypus has functional mammary glands in both male and female.

 
Gray
149580.  Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:47 pm Reply with quote

...but no nipples. The milk comes out through the skin. I'd be very surprised if the male had functioning glands, though, as it's the female that incubates the foetal young when they emerge.

 
Jenny
149590.  Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:00 pm Reply with quote

It's the hormonal changes of pregnancy that enable the development of mammary glands (as distinct from mammary tissue), and hormonal changes that occur immediately after giving birth that trigger lactation, so I also doubt whether a male platypus actually lactates.

 

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