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In 1798, a stuffed platypus specimen was delivered to the British Museum. Reports that it laid eggs created much confusion. To modem biologists, a platypus is clearly a mammal. It has fur and the females produce milk. Young animals have typical mammalian teeth that are replaced by hardened pads of the “bill” as the animal matures. Why do you think modem biologists can more easily accept that a mammal can have some reptilelike traits than scientists who were considering this animal in the late 1700s?

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Biology: The Unity and Diversity o...

15th Edition
Cecie Starr + 3 others
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781337408332

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Chapter
Section
BuyFindarrow_forward

Biology: The Unity and Diversity o...

15th Edition
Cecie Starr + 3 others
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781337408332
Chapter 25, Problem 1CT
Textbook Problem
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In 1798, a stuffed platypus specimen was delivered to the British Museum. Reports that it laid eggs created much confusion. To modem biologists, a platypus is clearly a mammal. It has fur and the females produce milk. Young animals have typical mammalian teeth that are replaced by hardened pads of the “bill” as the animal matures. Why do you think modem biologists can more easily accept that a mammal can have some reptilelike traits than scientists who were considering this animal in the late 1700s?

Summary Introduction

To explain: The reason why modern biologists can more easily accept that a mammal can have some reptile-like traits than scientists who were considering this animal in the late 1700s.

Concept introduction: Monotremes are protherian mammals, the first group of mammals that have evolved. Mammals are known for their viviparous nature that is, giving birth to young ones. Monotremes are the only mammals that lay eggs but feed their young ones with milk from mammary gland, the characteristic based on which the mammals are named. Platypus is a monotreme.

Explanation of Solution

The modern biologists have several ways to confirm that platypus is a mammal by analyzing the genome and comparing it with DNA obtained from fossil mammals and the current living mammals. On the other hand, the scientists of the 1700s have to classify the animals based on morphological features without doing invasive studies like dissection. With molecular evidence, it is possible to establish that mammals came from therapsids that are reptile-like animals from which the mammals evolved...

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