Author(s): Ann Moyal

Non Fiction

When the first specimen of a platypus arrived in England in 1799, it was greeted with astonishment and disbelief. What was this strange creature from the new colony of Australia? This is the story of a biological riddle that confounded scientists for nearly 90 years, challenging prevailing theories.


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Best historical zoology book in the 2001 Whitley Awards, run by the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales.

Shortlisted for NSW Premier's History Award: Australian History 2002.

'a spectacularly wonderful book' Robyn Williams, 2001. 'In this remote part of the earth, Nature (having made horses, oxen, ducks, geese, oaks, elms, and all regular productions for the rest of the world) seems determined to have a bit of a play, and to amuse herself as she pleases.' Rev Sydney Smith, Sydney, 1819. 'A disbeliever in everything beyond his own reason, might exclaim, "Surely two distinct creators must have been at work".' Charles Darwin, 1836.

Ann Moyal is a well-known historian of Australian science and has held research and teaching positions at a number of Australian universities. She has written many books and articles and is founder and past-president of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia. She now lives in Canberra.

AcknowledgementsIntroduction1. 'This Highly Interesting Novelty'2. The Frenchmen's Gaze3. Marshalling the Animals4. The Wrangling Scientists5. The Land of Contrarieties6. The First Hard Look7. The Paper War8. Darwin's Platypus9. To the Antipodes10. The Clash of Titans11. Solving the Mystery12. The New Men13. 'The Platypus Man'14. The Platypus Goes to War15. 'The Animal of All time'GlossaryA Word on SourcesIllustrationsIndex

General Fields

  • : 9781865088044
  • : Allen & Unwin
  • : Allen & Unwin
  • : April 2002
  • : 196mm X 132mm X 16mm
  • : Australia
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : New edition
  • : 599.29
  • : 248
  • : 15 illustrations
  • : Ann Moyal