Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 17.djvu/789

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769
THE AUSTRALIAN ORNITHORHYNCHUS.

THE AUSTRALIAN ORNITHORHYNCHUS.

LIKE most other animals of Australia and the neighboring islands, the ornithorhynchus presents some strange peculiarities of structure and habit. Its body is flat, about eighteen inches long, its head and mouth are very much like those of the duck, and it has a short, broad, flat tail like that of a beaver. When young, the animal is

PSM V17 D789 Ornithorhynchus paradoxus.jpg
Fig. 1.—Ornithorhynchus Paradoxus.

naked; the bill is short, and furnished with soft, fleshy borders, which enable the little ones to lay hold of the part on the body of the mother which affords the milk, but which is not pointed out by any teat. The tongue is large, and is likewise adapted to sucking. In the grown

PSM V17 D789 Jaws of the ornithorhynchus paradoxus.jpg
Fig. 2.—Jaws of the Ornithorhynchus Paradoxus. A. upper jaw; B, lower jaw; a, back tooth; b, flat front tooth; c, tongue; d, projecting skin; e, cross-grooves in the projecting skin.

animal the mouth is broadest in front, where it is rounded off; it is hard, and furnished with a porous skin which projects on both sides and runs around the front. Where this skin touches the forehead it