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Duck-billed platypus, type specimen

Duck-billed platypus, type specimen

C010/8441

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Credit

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Duck-billed platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), type specimen. The platypus, first described in a 1799 publication by British naturalist George Shaw, is part of a group of egg-laying mammals (monotremes). Its unique anatomy caused confusion and doubt among those examining specimens sent to the UK from Australia. This type specimen (holotype), an immature male, is the one originally examined by Shaw. Presented to the Natural History department of the British Museum, London, UK, in around 1800, it was lost until rediscovered by Natural History Museum zoologist Oldfield Thomas (1858-1929), who wrote the attached label.

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