1. Predict in as much detail as possible exactly what features a mammal would be expected to have. Consider the external as well as internal anatomy of a mammal; list all characteristics you can think of. Indicate which of these are exclusive to mammals and which are found in other vertebrates such as fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds.

2. Examine the drawings found in Doc Sharing in the document titled "Discussion 4 Figure". Think about how young Ornithorynchus are likely born. Are they born alive (viviparous)? Or are eggs laid, incubated, and then hatched (oviparous)? Or are eggs produced and then held in the body for a time and then hatched inside the mother as in some snakes (ovoviviparous)? Explain your guess. All of these opinions of Ornithorynchus development were firmly held by some of the great anatomists of the time. Change the subject of your post to your choice

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An Antipodal Mystery
by
Clyde Freeman Herreid
Department of Biological Sciences
University at Buff alo, State University of New York
Part I—A Letter from Down Under
… The river was very still on the curve where the eucalyptus dips towards the water. The light
shaded near late afternoon and twilight would soon darken the outline of the wooded bank and
the flat landscape stretching to the horizon. Bubbles broke the surface of the water. A small
brown head, its sleek furred cap glided silently in the river’s flow.
As you can imagine, my esteemed colleague, I wondered what the aborigine was spearing in the
lake near Hawkesbury River close to Sidney. I soon discovered the answer. A small creature
fought for its life with such force that it caught its assailant with its spur and seemed to cause
much pain. I have taken the liberty of posting the skin of the specimen to you for your study. It is
preserved in a keg of spirits with another antipodal beast. I send it to your keeping for the
Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
I remain your servant,
John Hunter, Governor
New South Wales
Thomas Bewick looked at the letter closely, pursing his lips. He gingerly unfolded the pages of
notes and drawings that spilled from the governor’s weathered envelope, addressed months ago.
With each passing moment his surprise increased; this creature was nothing like any animal seen
before. What would he write in his next edition of General History of Quadrupeds? What could
he possibly say? The animal seemed hardly real. Is it a mammal, he mused, or …?
Questions
Hunter’s drawings seem unbelievable. Bewick suspects that this is not going to be a simple
problem in classification. How should he decide what the creature is? What is the definition of a
mammal?
1. Predict in as much detail as possible exactly what features a mammal would be expected to
have. Consider the external as well as internal anatomy of a mammal; list all characteristics you
can think of. Indicate which of these are exclusive to mammals and which are found in other
vertebrates such as fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds.
Part II—”A Three-Fold Nature”
“The cask containing the two specimens … reached Newcastle late in 1799, transported from
quayside to the Society’s rooms by a woman servant. She carried it on her head and, by
mischance, the bottom of the cask gave way, dousing her with pungent spirits. But her dismay
was reportedly the greater when, looking down, she saw not only the small chunky wombat, but
the remains of ‘a strange creature, half bird, half beast, lying at her feet’.”

Thomas Bewick was to write that the creature “seems to be an animal suigeneris; it appears to
possess a three-fold nature, that of a fish, a bird and a quadruped, and is related to nothing that
we have hitherto seen.” It was about the size of a “small cat,” with a bill “very similar to that of a
duck,” with four short legs, “the forelegs … shorter than those of the hind and their webs spread
considerably beyond the claws.” Bewick concluded “it resisted any attempt to arrange it in any
of the useful modes of classification.”
Dr. George Shaw, a Fellow of the Royal Society and Assistant Keeper of Natural History at the
British Museum, also obtained a dried specimen in 1799. He wondered if it was a hoax, an
animal stitched together by clever Chinese or Japanese taxidermists to deceive credulous sailors.
He wrote: “I almost doubted the testimony of my own eyes.” But he could not find any
deception.
A specimen found its way into the hands of Professor Johann Blumenbach, a comparative
anatomist of the University of Göttingen in Germany, who christened the creature
Ornithorynchus paradoxous. “In every way a paradox,” the Australian arrival raised a host of
questions. Was it, as its brown fur suggested, a mammal? But where were its mammary glands?
Where were its nipples? And how could a young animal suckle with that duckbill? Or was it a
reptile, among which amphibians were then grouped, for this beast was surely aquatic? Or
perhaps it was avian; its duck-like bill indicated an affinity with warm-blooded birds.
Blumenbach was stumped. Ornithorynchus did not fall into any of the major classes of
vertebrates—the mammals, fish, birds, and reptiles.
Other specimens were forwarded to the distinguished British anatomist Everard Home at the
Royal College of Surgeons in London. Th e mystery deepened, for Home made a series of
wonderful discoveries published in papers written from 1800-1802. The “duck-bill” beak was an
exploratory organ for touching and tasting the muddy bottom of rivers as the animal searched for
its food, small crustaceans and insects underwater. The beak was not hard like that of a bird;
rather it was moist, soft, and highly flexible. And the reproductive organs were a surprise!
Questions
2. Examine the drawings found in Doc Sharing in the document titled "Discussion 4 Figure".
Think about how young Ornithorynchus are likely born. Are they born alive (viviparous)? Or are
eggs laid, incubated, and then hatched (oviparous)? Or are eggs produced and then held in the
body for a time and then hatched inside the mother as in some snakes (ovoviviparous)? Explain
your guess. All of these opinions of Ornithorynchus development were firmly held by some of
the great anatomists of the time. Change the subject of your post to your choice (and NO FAIR
looking it up to find out!)