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Platypus: The Extraordinary Story of How a Curious Creature Baffled the World

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Platypus: The Extraordinary Story of How a Curious Creature Baffled the World Cover

ISBN13: 9781560989776
ISBN10: 1560989777
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This is the enigmatic story of a biological riddle that confounded scientists for nearly ninety years, challenging theories of creationism, evolution, and classification of species along the way. Secretive, elusive, and beguiling, the platypus has continued to captivate public and scientific attention to the present day.

When the first platypus specimen reached England from Australia in 1799, the scientific community claimed that it was a hoax. On closer investigation, dubious European naturalists eventually declared it to be real, though in an age obsessed with classification, the category-defying platypus sparked heated debates across Europe for a century. In Platypus, Ann Moyal provides a unique biography of one of the world's most famously strange creatures and tells the incredible story of how it became the focus of the great scientific debates of the nineteenth century. Eloquent and concise, Platypus uncovers the earliest theories and latest discoveries about this delightfully odd member of the animal kingdom.

Book News Annotation:

A historian of Australian science (and President of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia) writes an account of the mystery of the Platypus, the small, shy marsupial that stumped the identification skills of English scientists for 90 years with its webbed feet and duck's beak attached to what seemed to be a mammal's body. B&w illustrations, with eight color plates. 5.5x8<">.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

A well-known Australian author and historian of science tells the extraordinary story of the platypus, first discovered in 1799, to become a key player in the great theoretical and philosophical debates of the time. 36 illustrations, 8 in color.

About the Author

Ann Moyal is a historian of science. She has held research and teaching positions at a number of universities and is the founder and past president of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia. She lives in Canberra.

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Gold Gato, May 6, 2015 (view all comments by Gold Gato)
Newly arrived colonists to Australia called it a 'duck-bill mole'. Europeans believed it was a hoax created by the southern continent's criminal emigrants. In the effort to finalize whether it was a true mammal or laid eggs like birds, the puzzling animal was almost wiped out by hunters and scientists.

This book specifically traces the effect the discovery of the Platypus had upon scientists in old world Europe. Although there is basic history and physical description, this is much more of a human story as author Ann Moyal reviews the efforts of each successive naturalist to explain this strange creature and their efforts to find out if the Platypus laid actual eggs.

Also, the Platypus has a spur on its hind limb which is venomous. Enough to kill a dog and to make a scratch on a human very painful indeed. Given this extraordinary creature and the way it puzzled the world, one would expect a much more exhilarating narrative. Instead, the story is laid out very scholarly, and I only became enthralled during the last chapter. Very educational, though.

Book Season = Summer (up is down)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781560989776
Author:
Moyal, Ann
Publisher:
Smithsonian Books (DC)
Author:
MOYAL A
Location:
Washington, D.C.
Subject:
Mammals
Subject:
Platypus
Subject:
Animals - Mammals
Subject:
Nature Studies-Mammals
Copyright:
Series Volume:
no. 202
Publication Date:
20010731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 COLOR, 29 BandW ILLS.
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.05x5.50x.88 in. .97 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Australia and Pacific
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Mammals » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Mammals » Small Mammals

Platypus: The Extraordinary Story of How a Curious Creature Baffled the World Used Hardcover
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Product details 240 pages Smithsonian Books - English 9781560989776 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A well-known Australian author and historian of science tells the extraordinary story of the platypus, first discovered in 1799, to become a key player in the great theoretical and philosophical debates of the time. 36 illustrations, 8 in color.
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