Australia and Tasmania possess two animals of this order - the echidna, or spiny ant-eater (hairy in Tasmania), and the Platypus anatinus, the duckbilled water mole, otherwise named the Ornithorhynchus paradoxus.
205) under the name of Ornithorhynchus paradoxes.
Dumas once called it the "ornithorhynchus paradoxus of metals."
Although the present article does not discuss mammalian osteology in general (for which see Vertebrata), it is interesting to notice in this connexion that the primitive condition of the mammalian tympanum apparently consisted merely of a small and incomplete bony ring, with, at most, an imperfect ventral wall to the tympanic cavity, and that a close approximation to this original condition still persists in the monotremes, especially Ornithorhynchus.
Adult monotremes are in like case, although the duckbilled platypus (Ornithorhynchus) has teeth when young on the sides of the jaws.
Very skilful accommodation was needful, if the limitation of sloths to South America, and of the Ornithorhynchus to Australia, was to be reconciled with the literal interpretation of the history of the Deluge; and, with the establishment of the existence of distinct provinces of distribution, any serious belief in the peopling of the world by migration from Mount Ararat came to an end.
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