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Eric Shackle Writes: They Thought It Was A Hoax

So what is the official State Animal of New South Wales? Eric Shackle brings the answer.

Few Sydneysiders know what’s the official State Animal of New South Wales. It’s the unique semi-marine mammal the platypus. When our pioneer explorers discovered them back in 1798, they described them to the Royal Society. The English scientists thought at first that it must have been a hoax.

“With a duck-like bill and a habit of laying eggs, the platypus is a strange mammal,” Anya Weimann writes in the current issue of Cosmos, a world science magazine published in Sydney. .

“Australian researchers have now discovered the evolutionary basis of its most unusual feature: its venom.

“Both male and female platypus are born with spurs, but only males produce a cocktail of venom there, which helps them compete with other males for mates and defend themselves against predators.”

Video: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/wild/videos/the-peculiar-platypus/


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