Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The More We Learn, the Less We Know

When I was growing up, I was taught that only the mammal that lays eggs is the Platypus. Turns out that was wrong. There are 2 mammals that do this. The platypus and the echidna - 4 if you count all 3 echidna types.

Platypuses also have a toxin spike in their back heel. Genome-ically, this is related to the toxin reptiles (like venomous snakes) have! More about Platypuses.

And we have learned more odd things from genome sequencing of these two mammals. It turns out that egg laying isn't something they learned (evolutionarily speaking) but something we other mammals forgot. In fact, echidnas can have either live babies or eggs - depending on the environmental conditions at birth!

One other thing they found, and they have ZERO understanding of why this might occur, platypuses glow under black light!

The world is far more complex that we think.


  1. Hmmm. I gotta wonder how big a human baby egg would be and if pushing it out would be easier.

  2. Yes, but when the young hatch, the go into a pouch in the mom where there is a teat. So if humans had eggs, you would also have a big flap of skin covering your breasts. I cannot image that would age well. (And you only have to look at the dangly bits on men to see age and gravity are not friends.)

  3. Hehehe. I was playing "Code Names" on Zoom with some friends a while back and the clue given was mammal for two. I picked Lion and platypus. My teammate thought I had gone insane. I thought everyone knew that the duckbilled platypus is a mammal. Apparently not.


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