Objects

The Platypus

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In 1798 the platypus landed on the shores of the Tyne to be studied by the Literary and Philosophical Society. It appeared as a full skin well preserved in its full oddity – part quadruped, part bird and fully unique.

One had come before, to London, but it was a dried skin and which had arrived via the Indian Ocean therefore it could not be fully trusted. The 1700’s was a time of ‘mermaids’ when sailors would sew several animals together to amuse themselves on long days at sea and to bewilder European scientists. Scientific rigour was applied to the first specimen: it was soaked, stretched, pulled, turned over and observed for hidden stitching. It was named, and tentatively categorised but it still could not be fully believed. The Lit and Phil specimen took away that suspicion.

The original platypus specimen is housed in the archives at the Great North Museum: Hancock



One Response to “The Platypus”

  1. […] El famoso espécimen disecado en el Museo de Ciencia Natural. Imagen: Universidad de California. […]

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