Synopses & Reviews
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.
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.