By Adrian Franklin
Animals can let us know much approximately ourselves. the way in which we adore them as pets, devour them for dinner, lead them to symbols of the state or shun them as invaders and pests illuminates a lot approximately our society and tradition. Animal kingdom lines the complicated relationships among animals and people in Australia. It starts off with the colonial period—when unexpected local animals have been hunted nearly to extinction and changed with hottest species—and brings us complete circle to the current while local species are safe notably others.
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Additional resources for Animal Nation: The True Story of Animals And Australia
The matter was settled once and for all. The platypus was an egg-laying mammal and monotremes (the new category designated for such creatures) were a specialised extension of mammalia. Both StHilaire and Owen had been only half right and thus totally wrong in their gambit for classification. By this time the zoological world had been revolutionised by Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, first published in 1859 in On The Origin of Species. This book surrounded the platypus question with an entirely different perspective.
Nevertheless Bennett’s own son was recruited into the research to obtain detailed information on the youthful platypus, suckling, lactation and sundry other details but not, it appeared, evidence of egg-laying. The problem solved After labouring along a cul-de-sac for so long, it was not at all surprising that it was an entire newcomer, the 23-year-old William Caldwell, an embryologist from Cambridge, who finally resolved the issue. In late August 1884, on the Burnett River in southern Queensland, he first of all discovered an echidna with an egg laid in its pouch, and then rather excitedly he turned to finding platypuses in a similar condition.
The two men decided that it was most likely that the platypus produced its young ovoviviparously. At this point Geoffrey St-Hillaire weighed in, arguing that the entire question was still unresolved and that his theory that the platypus could not be a mammal was secure providing that the secretion from the side of the platypus was not milk but some other substance and that the platypus was in fact an egg-layer like the reptile family it was so obviously allied to. Most agreed with Owen, however, especially when very young platypuses were obtained showing that their duck-bill was as yet undeveloped and therefore they were unimpeded in obtaining milk.
Animal Nation: The True Story of Animals And Australia by Adrian Franklin