08 May 2008

It Is Platypuses or Platypi?

When I was a kid I was really sick. In elementary school, I could not participate in our twice-weekly physical education outings because of my asthma and allergies. So, to make sure I did not waste an hour, I was sent to the school library where I read -- and read, and read. Every so often, I was required to write a report on the book I read. I was graded on these reports and that substituted for my PhysEd grade.

At the time, I really hated this arrangement -- not because I did not enjoy reading. I loved reading and loved libraries. No, I hated being made even more "different" than I already was. Over the years I have come to be very happy that this arrangement existed. I read all kinds of non-fiction books, got all kinds of attention from the librarians who (I suppose) felt sorry for me.

I remember only vague snatches of some of the books I read, but I very much remember one book that was all about the platypus. I remember to this day marveling at how wonderful was this very "different" animal (pictured). I fell in love with platypuses (or platypi) then, and love them still.

Here is a website all about the wonderful mystery animal that is only found along the eastern continent of Australia.

Here is an article about the fascinating results of the recent mapping of the platypus's genome. So, the original discoverers of this marvelous animal were right: it is part mammal, part reptile.

No comments: