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 Definition An amphibious, egg-laying monotreme (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) of eastern mainland Australia and Tasmania, 45-60 cm in total length, having webbed feet and a muzzle like the bill of a duck; also known as the duck-billed platypus. [d] [e]

As requested by Howard C. Berkowitz. A work in progress, but ... David H. Barrett 20:40, 22 August 2008 (CDT)


Biological spare parts from birds, snakes, and mammals in close formation. I am glad to see they are not endangered; they are an example of how diverse biology can be. Oh, there are bacteria with truly weird metabolism, but they are much harder to see. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:24, 22 August 2008 (CDT)

Pluralities of platypus?

I am reminded of a Hollywood tale of a great producer, perhaps Sam Goldwyn, making a movie of Kipling's heroic mongoose, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. As did any competent producer, he not only cast the major roles, but recruited understudies.

As one of the last steps before production began, he started to send an order, for a mongoose, to the appropriate animal casting agency.

Dear sir, please send me a mongoose...

He screamed! "This is the lead role, and I don't have an understudy. The things run like lightning. I can't risk it."

Crumpling the letter, he wrote:

Dear sir, please send me two mongeese.

Mongeese? crumple crumple

Dear sir, please send me two mongooses.

Gooses? Then, his creative juices flowed.

Dear sir, send me a mongoose. While you are at it, send me another.

So how does it work with platypus?

Howard C. Berkowitz 15:53, 25 August 2008 (CDT)

Of pluralities and other things

My understanding of the situation, which is quite possibly completely wrong, or just right enough to be dangerous, is as follows.

Back in the good old days of classical education, when every well-learnt young chap (and a goodly number of chappettes) were versed in Greek and Latin, there were two main plural forms for words of this type. If words had Greek roots, it was -i — in this case, platypi. If words were of Latin derivation, the ending would be -uses (and I can't think of an example at this point, so anyone feel free to chip in). And these well-educated types would know which was which and act accordingly.

However, classical education ain't what it was and most of us no longer have a clue about the ancient derivations of words. Furthermore, with the advent of mass communication, various misuses have become standard and the whole Greek–Latin plural suffix thing has become very, very confused.

So the tendency now is to go for a more modern, Anglo-American style of plural — platypuses, hippopotamuses, cactuses. These things probably send purists insane, but such is the way of the world. And just to throw another curly one into the mix, the collective plural for platypus may also be ... [*drumroll*] platypus.

In short, just make something up and go with it, I reckon! David H. Barrett 15:28, 27 August 2008 (CDT)

It is less than apparent to me that Citizendium is much deprived by not having an article, hippopotamus, but I do know the Disney Hippopotamus Song, "Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud". While I was disappointed to find out the truth of the personality of a full-sized hippopotamus, the National Zoo in Washington, DC has a number of the pygmy persuasion, who have mouths, it would seem, almost as long as their bodies. They spend the day with their jaws open, confident that food will, sooner or later, be tossed into their mouths. They obviously have a very optimistic view of the world. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:33, 27 August 2008 (CDT)
Apparently the non-pygmy variety are the most lethal animals in Africa, killing more humans every year than any other species. Or so I'm told ... David H. Barrett 22:13, 27 August 2008 (CDT)
More than H. sapiens? Howard C. Berkowitz 22:17, 27 August 2008 (CDT)
I stand corrected! David H. Barrett 22:32, 27 August 2008 (CDT)