The Puzzling Problem of the Platypus

In 1798, an eminent zoologist at the British Museum named George Shaw received a dried and most unusual specimen from a newly-established colony in Australia. This unknown creature had many strange qualities about it: the flat tail of a beaver, the body and soft, fine fur of an otter or mole, and, most outlandish of all, the flat bill of a duck that seemed to fit quite awkwardly onto its furry head.