Wednesday, 13 October 2010

At least they're not ducks

Monotremes? Marsupials? Nature has problems with platypus.

But apart from that dodgy reclassification, it's an interesting article on convergent evolution in platypus, snake and spider venoms.


desertnutmeg said...

How cool is that! I had no idea they were venomous. This changes my whole view on my favorite cartoon, Phineas and Ferb.

mainly mongoose (Lynda) said...

I couldn't figure out what you were pointing out, until I got to the end of the article where the author has noted that the mistake's been corrected!

Tyto Tony said...

If male snakes fight together for females without risking injury or death by biting, and, I understand, have some immunity to self- and species-bites, might not platypuses behave similarly and likewise have protection? I guess the captive breeding programs would not allow males to mix and fight, but are there any records in the wild of males using spurs on other males?

Denis Wilson said...

To be honest, I didn't notice anything "wrong".
Wikipedia says: "The class Mammalia (the mammals) is divided into two subclasses based on reproductive techniques: egg laying mammals (the monotremes); and mammals which give live birth." etc, etc
Egg-laying Mammals seemed right, to me.

Snail said...

Evenin', peeps.

They've corrected it now, of course, as they should. That's why I took a screen cap when the error was still in place. Have a look at the image on this post.

Seems they also got confused between convergent evolution and co-evolution, but I wasn't quick enough for that!

I don't know much about the platypus (apart from it not being a marsupial). I remember the Parers (I think) taking some astonishing footage of the private life of the platypus, but I don't recall any barneying going on. I suppose it could have a dual purpose --- uncomfortable for other platypus and bloody painful to debilitating for potential enemies. The range of toxins seems to me like an awful lot --- something for every occasion!

Dave said...

The big science journals were long ago taken over by non-scientists. These types of error are not uncommon. I cancelled my Science subscription many years ago after reading an article that called the invasive green crab a mollusk. That was the final straw. I had been wondering why I subscribed for a long time. There are sometimes interesting articles in Nature and rarely in Science, but you could say that about the Australian.