The Platypus

Ornithorhynchus anatinus

The platypus is a semiaquatic, egg-laying mammal. The male has venom glands that are connected to hollow spurs on their hind legs. In the late 18th century, when British scientists first saw the platypus that was sent to them by the colonists in Australia, some of them thought the specimen must be a hoax. English zoologist George Shaw wrote in 1799, “It naturally excites the idea of some deceptive preparation by artificial means,” and,  “Of all the Mammalia yet known it seems the most extraordinary in its conformation; exhibiting the perfect resemblance of the beak of a Duck engrafted on the head of a quadruped.”


Story contribution:

Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr
Tissue Culture & Art Project
SymbioticA, The Centre for Excellence in Biological Arts
School of Human Sciences + School of Design
The University of Western Australia

Back to Life Forms Exhibition Page