They Reveal the Origin and Evolutionary Secrets of One of the World’s Strangest Mammals – Mystery Science

Currently, the biological community classifies it as the strangest mammal in the world But what animal are we talking about? this is the platypus Australian who has a duck’s beak and looks like a beaver, “nurses” his young even though he has no breasts; a wide variety of strange characteristics that this creature possesses.

An international team from the University of Copenhagen has set up investigate a little deeper the only platypus genome through cartography. Of course, answers about the origin of some extremely strange characteristics were not long in coming.

Instead of giving birth like the vast majority of mammals, the platypus lays eggs. It also transpires milk and has spurs which are very poisonous and cause severe pain in humans. It has also been scientifically concluded that is equipped with 10 sex chromosomes.

Europeans discovered this strange mammal in Australia in the late 1700s. This strange semi-aquatic creature that has a duckbill, the more studies are conducted on it, the more it puzzles scientists.

Researchers are currently trying to understand how the strangest animal in the world has become so unique. Therefore, an international team of scientists mapped complete platypus genome What do the results show?

The Australian platypus is one of the most fascinating animals in the world.

Recently, it was discovered that the venom they secrete contains a hormone that could help treat diabetes.

Scientists were also surprised to discover one of its most amazing physical characteristics, because this creature does not have a stomach, its throat leads directly to the intestines.

Similarly, an American scientific team has discovered that platypuses have biofluorescent properties, since although their color is uniformly brown in natural light, it turns fluorescent green under UV rays. And it’s not just an optical reflection effect, because the fur of the small semi-aquatic mammal reflects light when projected, and also absorbs it to emit it later.

Analysis of your genes

The scientists analyzed their 18,500 genes. the complete genome He left us answers to many doubts that have arisen since its discovery. Decoding the genome is important to further improve our understanding of how other mammals, including us humans, evolved.

The the monotremes, this is the old group to which they belonged the mammalian platypus, millions upon millions of years before any other modern mammals were discovered.

could genetically be “a mixture” of birds, mammals and reptiles. Well, today it still retains many of the characteristics of its ancestors, which is really good because it helps its adaptive progress succeed in the environment in which it lives.

How do toothless mammals eat?

These animals they have no limitations when feeding, as they have no teeth. When laying eggs, this animal feeds its other young without having breasts, because the sweat milk allows it to give them what they need for food and nourishment.

The adult mammal uses marine plants, crustaceans, worms, earthworms, tadpoles, invertebrates and insect larvae. They have a real voracious appetiteallowing them to eat more or less the equivalent of their weight in a single night.

The curious characteristics of this peculiar semi-aquatic creature have baffled the scientific community for years. Credit: National Geographic.

There is a gene called vitellogenin which is essential for the production of the yolk and the egg as such. Chickens have it, but platypuses only carry 1 in 3 of this gene, most likely losing the other two 130 million years ago. Thanks to this remaining gene, she can continue to lay eggs. and procreate.

How long ago did they lose their teeth?

It is true that they currently have no teeth, however, their closest ancestors did. But, the modern platypus is equipped with two excellent dishes of horns which they use to crush all the food before ingesting it.

Studies reveal that the platypus he lost his teeth 120 million years ago as an approximation. This happened because 4 of the 8 genes responsible for the development of their teeth disappeared.

Millions of years ago, the platypus lost its teeth.

What is the uncomfortable who owns your milk

In almost all mammals The vitellogenin genes have been replaced for casein. Which is an extremely important component in the milk of all mammals, and this gene was found in the most recent studies conducted in platypus.

The composition of her milk is very similar to that of a cow and even that of humans and other mammals. What’s interesting is that milk production in almost all mammalian species was developed through the same set of genes derived from the same ancestor who lived over 170 million years ago.

10 sex chromosomes

Humans and all other land mammals have only two sex-determining X and Y chromosomes. XX is female and XY is male.

However, platypuses have 10 sex chromosomes with chromosomes 5 X and 5 Y. Genome mapping clearly shows that almost all monotreme sex chromosomes have more in common with chickens than with humans. Which is a clear indication of the evolutionary link between mammals and birds.

The platypus still has many unsolved mysteries, such as why its skin fluoresces, why they have genes that are also present in dogs and rodents that give them the ability to detect smells underwater, or how they hunt thanks to an electrolocation system that allows them to perceive even the weakest electrical impulses of their prey… These are just some of the enigmas of this fascinating animal, which scientists will have to unravel little by little.

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