Greek feet + rare mammals

Tanaqui tweaver at imbolc.ucc.ie
Mon Feb 10 03:42:19 EST 2003


me: 
+ > echidnas have teats, while the platypuses do not).
 
Jon: 
+ Gee thanks, I really wanted to know that :-) (actually
+ I actually did find it interesting as was able to
+ understand it)

Since the echidna egg is laid into the pouch and the infant hatches
there, it doesn't have the marsupial trek to get at them, either.

Now, I'd better admit the taxonomic plank in my own eye before someone
else carpets me before speck-bearing Sallyo.

I said something about commoner "one-holes" not being warm-blooded.

Ah, yes, well, birds are pretty common, aren't they? Having happily
mentioned birds and reptiles as possessors of cloacae, and knowing that
at some point I'd mention heat-determination of gender in reptile eggs
and WZ versus XY for bird/mammalian sex chromosomes, I did this. <blush>
I have no idea whether reptiles are "commoner" than birds, but if they are,
I'm right by pure accident, because I was intending merely to bitch about
"monotreme" versus "prototheria" as an umbrella term for the egg-laying
mammals.

+ > oh, and Jon? get those friends in NSW to breed their
+ > critters in captivity,

+ Sorry no chance (putting them into captivity would be
+ quite illegal and not at all the sort of thing these
+ people would do)

Ah. I rather misunderstood what you meant by "friends with" platypuses,
and was sloppy with "in captivity". Please be assured that I never had any
notion of your friends keeping the critters in little cloudy tanks full of
bugs and shrimps. I assumed you meant "in the locality", but was definitely
thinking along rather more proprietal lines, given the phrase you used. It's
permissable to encourage echidnas to nest in one's yard, and to bring them
termite-ridden logs, so I'm afraid I was rather thinking along the lines of
"blimey, this bloke knows the sort of people with platypuses at the bottom
of the garden, near the pond".

I'm assuming that the genetics researcher has a very shiny licence which
means that the CITES people and the Australian government (given the location
of said researcher) are happy that the animals aren't being driven further
towards rarity. Of course, you and your friends might not be equally happy
about the appearance of people with needles around the cuties ;-)

At some point, people have discovered that platypuses won't breed "in
captivity", and I was vaguely wondering about that. How long ago was the
attempt made; what defines "in captivity"; what exactly are the rules
(rescue attempts by trained professionals are presumably permissable, but
does the Australian government have a rule saying that the animals must never
be kept in a restricted environment by anyone, ever?)?

I'm a biodiversity advocate. A responsible one, despite or because of my
_New Scientist_ subscription. (The sort of eco-terrorist who writes that he
has released "elevin" members of a hostile alien species onto the island where
the last cluster of kakapo parrots live, because his government has decided to
eliminate the alien species he and his buddies love to hunt on the mainland
would not exist in a rational world, would he?)

Corn snakes didn't breed in captivity until people learned about brumation to
trigger the breeding cycle (keep 'em warm all winter and it never happens).

Tanaqui, liking the idea of cryptid platypuses creeping North from South
         America. *especially* if it turns out that they're genetically
         distinct from their Aussie relatives.

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