is a platypus a bird or a mammal

Taxonomy and namingSee also:

The second Governor of New South Wales, Captain John Hunter, sent a pelt and sketch of the platypus, which he had discovered, back to Great Britain in 1798. [7] British scientists’ first suspicion was that the characteristics weren’t real. [8] Robert Knox thought the animal might have been created by an Asian taxidermist, while George Shaw, who published the first description of the animal in the Naturalists Miscellany in 1799, said it was impossible not to entertain doubts about its genuine nature. [8] It was believed that a duck’s beak had been sewn onto the body of an animal that resembled a beaver. Shaw even checked for stitches on the dried skin with a pair of scissors. [10][9].

In the English language, there isn’t a commonly accepted plural form for the word “platypus.” Scientists generally use “platypuses” or simply “platypus”. As an alternative, the plural is also referred to as “platypi,” despite the fact that this is a pseudo-Latin term; according to the Greek roots, the plural is “platypodes.” It was known by several names among the early British settlers, including “watermole,” “duckbill,” and “duckmole.” [10] Occasionally it is specifically called the “duck-billed platypus”.

The scientific name Ornithorhynchus anatinus, which derives its genus name from the Greek root ornith- (όρνιθ ornith or ὄρνις órnīs bird)[18] and the word rhúnkhos (ῥύγχος snout, beak), literally translates as “duck-like bird-snout” [15]. [19] The Latin term anatinus, meaning “duck-like,” is the source of the species name, anas duck. The only surviving representative or monotypic taxon in its family (Ornithorhynchidae) is the platypus [15][20]. [21].

  • A book for children published in Germany in 1798
  • Illustration from the first scientific description in 1799
  • Colour print from 1863

David Collins, in his 1788–1801, account of the new colony, describes, along with a drawing, “an amphibious animal, of the mole species.” [22].

The dense, brown, biofluorescent fur covering the platypus’s body and broad, flat tail traps a layer of insulating air to keep the animal warm. [10][16][23] The fur is textured like a mole and waterproof. [24] The Tasmanian devil and platypus share a similar adaptation in that their tails store fat reserves. [25] The front feet, which are folded up in a knuckle-walking gait when walking on land, have more significant webbing. [26] The bill is formed by the soft skin covering the elongated snout and lower jaw. The eyes and ears are situated in a groove behind the snout that shuts underwater, while the nostrils are on the dorsal surface of the nose. [16] When startled, platypus can produce a low growl, and reports of various vocalizations in captivity have been made. [10].

Regional differences in size and average weight range from 0 to 7 to 2. Males average 50 cm (20 in), females 43 cm (17 in); the weight range for males is 4 kg (1 lb 9 oz to 5 lb 5 oz). [16] This variation may be the result of other factors like predation and human encroachment as it does not appear to follow any specific climatic rule. [27].

The average body temperature of a platypus is approximately 32 °C (90 °F), which is lower than the 37 °C (99 °F) that placental mammals typically have. [28] Instead of being a universal trait of earlier monotremes, research indicates that this has been a gradual adaptation to harsh environmental conditions among the few marginal surviving monotreme species. [29][30].

Apart from their ability to lay eggs, monotremes exhibit similarities in their anatomy, ontogeny, and genetics with both birds and reptiles. The platypus walks like a reptile because its legs are on its sides rather than underneath it. [16] Since that birds have the DMRT1 gene on their Z chromosome and platypuss have the same gene on one of their five X chromosomes, the platypuss genes may represent an evolutionary connection between the mammalian XY and bird/reptile ZW sex-determination systems. [31].

Unlike pre-mammalian synapsids, which have their middle ear bones lying in the jaw, true mammals have their middle ear bones fully integrated into the skull. Still, the ear’s external opening is located at the base of the jaw. [16] Among the extra bones in the shoulder girdle of the platypus is an interclavicle that is absent from other mammals. [16] The bones exhibit osteosclerosis, which increases their density to form ballast, just like in many other aquatic and semiaquatic vertebrates. [32].

Other mammals’ jaws are not built like the platypus’, and its jaw-opening muscle is unique. In contrast, adults grow heavily keratinized food-grinding pads called ceratodontes. [16] Modern platypus young have three teeth in each of the maxillae (one premolar and two molars) and dentaries (three molars), which they lose before or shortly after leaving the breeding burrow. [16][33][34] Platypus nestlings have small first upper and third lower cheek teeth with a single principal cusp each, while the other teeth have two main cusps. [35].

  • Diving
  • Surfacing

Distribution, ecology, and behaviour Dentition, as illustrated in Knight’s

Semiaquatic in nature, platypus inhabit small streams and rivers throughout a vast range that stretches from the tropical rainforests of coastal Queensland as far north as the base of the Cape York Peninsula to the frigid highlands of Tasmania and the Australian Alps. [55].

Inland, its distribution is not well known. On the mainland of South Australia, it was thought to be extinct; the last sighting was reported in 1975 at Renmark. [56] John Wamsley established a platypus breeding program in Warrawong Sanctuary in the 1980s; it closed later. See below. [57][58] Unconfirmed sightings of a platypus nesting were reported in 2017 downstream from the sanctuary,[56] and footage of the nesting animal was captured inside the recently reopened sanctuary in October 2020. [59].

The platypus has vanished from the main Murray-Darling Basin, possibly as a result of irrigation and land clearing resulting in decreasing water quality. [62] Its distribution along the coastal river systems is erratic; it is absent from certain reasonably healthy rivers but present in some severely degraded ones, such as the lower Maribyrnong. [63].

Platypuses in captivity have reached the age of 17, and 11-year-old wild specimens have been captured again. Adult mortality rates in the wild seem to be low. [16] Goannas, hawks, owls, eagles, water rats, and snakes are examples of natural predators. There may be a reason for the low platypus population in northern Australia: crocodile predation. [64] There’s a chance that the 1845 introduction of red foxes for sport hunting had some effect on their numbers on the mainland. [27] Normally nocturnal and crepuscular, platypus can become active on cloudy days. Its habitat spans rivers and the riparian zone, providing it with both prey and riverbanks where it can excavate burrows for resting and nesting. [66] Its maximum range is seven kilometers (4 3 mi), a male’s home range overlapping three or four females’ home ranges. [67].

Because it can swim very well, platypus spends a lot of time in the water searching for food. It swims differently from other mammals, using its front feet to propel itself in alternating strokes, and its webbed hind feet, which are held against the body and used only for steering, along with the tail. [69] It can forage for hours in water below 5 °C (41 °F) while maintaining its comparatively low body temperature of about 32 °C (90 °F). [16] Typically, dives last 30 seconds, with an estimated aerobic limit of 40 seconds. In between dives, there should be a 10- to 20-second surface interval. [70][71].

The platypus burrows about 30 cm (12 in) above the riverbed in a short, straight tunnel, with an oval entrance hole that is frequently covered in a tangle of roots. It can sleep for up to 14 hours a day [68] following a half-day of diving. [72].

As a carnivore, the platypus consumes freshwater shrimp, annelid worms, insect larvae, and yabby (crayfish), which it either swims or uses its snout to dig up from the riverbed. Before devouring its meal, it brings its prey to the surface in cheek-pouches. [68] It consumes approximately 2020% of its body weight every day, meaning it must spend an average of 2012 hours a day searching for food. [70].

Wildlife sanctuaries

When National Geographic Magazine published an article in 1939 about the platypus and the attempts to study and raise it in captivity, a large portion of the world was first introduced to the platypus. Only a small number of young have been successfully raised since—most notably at Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria—due to the difficulty of the latter task. David Fleay took the lead in these efforts, setting up a platypusary (a tank-based stream simulator) at the Healesville Sanctuary in 1943, where breeding was successful. [108] In his wildlife park at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast, Queensland, he discovered a dead baby in 1972, which had most likely been born in captivity. [109] Healesville used a similar stream tank to replicate its success in 1998 and 2000. [110] Since 2008, Healesville has been the site of frequent platypus breeding, including second-generation (captive-born offspring breeding in captivity) [112] Sydney’s Taronga Zoo successfully produced twins in 2003 and again in 2006. [110].


Why is platypus classified as a mammal?

The platypus is classed as a mammal because it has fur and feeds its young with milk. It flaps a beaver-like tail. But it also has bird and reptile features — a duck-like bill and webbed feet, and lives mostly underwater.

Which animal gives both milk and egg?

The only mammal that produces both milk and eggs is thus the platypus. It seems to have a duck’s beak. It is an egg-laying animal that lives in a semi-aquatic environment.

Is a platypus an egg?

Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of monotremes, mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young.

Do platypus lay eggs and produce milk?

The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) has a puzzling array of features. Not only does it have that iconic duck bill, it lays eggs like a bird or reptile but feeds milk to its young like a mammal.