The first scientists to examine the platypus species thought they were being made fools of. The creatures called platypus appeared to be several mammals crudely assembled or stitched together, as if to perpetrate a great scientific hoax.
But how could they not feel this way? The Duckbill Platypus to the eye appears to be a chimera of a duck (replete with soft fleshy beak and webbed front and hind feet,) the flattened muscular tail like a beaver and the general body with the appearance of a furred river otter. And the males are unique, for they possess sharp venomous spurs on their hind legs capable of delivering a defensive toxic blow to any would-be attacker.
The platypus (which has been called various other names, including “watermole” and “duckmole”) use their sensitive flattened beaks to ferret-out worms, shellfish and snails, and aquatic larvae from the river-bottoms where they feed. They swim underwater for perhaps as long as a minute and one-half at a time in search of food, storing their procured quarry in cheek pouches and resurfacing to breathe, and to eat their catch.
Platypus does not have real teeth but paired grinding surfaces deep within their skulls. Along with their edible food prey, they scoop-up small gravel and sand from the river bottom and use this to help grind their food into a useful consistency that they can swallow and digest.
It would be easy to assume a hoax were being perpetrated if this skeleton were presented as sole initial proof of existence of one of the world’s strangest living animals: the duckbill platypus.
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