Thursday, May 08, 2008

Stuff you always wanted to know (but were never bored enough to look up)

Hey, look what woke me up last night about 1:30 in the morning!

Ok, so let's talk about platypuses, as apparently my spell checker is telling me that platypi is not correct as I originally had thought. However, a little Wiki tells me that the "pseudo-Latin" platypi is the colloquial form, and that it would be platypodes if put into Greek as the singular form is. Anyway maybe I'm alone on this one, but I think they're cool.

So in a sometimes futile effort to stave off boredom at work when things are slow, I run across some rather interesting (to me) things in my random net meanderings.... today's stop by the good 'ol BBC got me looking into our nice and cuddley duck-billed monotrematic buddies, and oh my GOD you would not believe the fountain of trivial knowledge that I stumbled upon - this to me was like stumbling across the El Dorado of Wikipedia entries. For instance, did you know that a baby platypus is referred to as a puggle? Or that the males have poisonous hind legs and the powers of electroreception? Or that while as members of the mammal family they do have mammary glands and lactate, they don't have nipples? Seriously, I couldn't make this stuff up... no wonder people thought these things were a hoax when they first discovered them.

So did I stop there? Of course not, because in explaining what I was looking at to the girl sitting next to me at work I found out that platypus in Japanese is カモノハシ ("kamonohasi"), which as I see it pretty directly translates to "duck-nosed". Makes sense. And the only other monotreme (単孔類, "tankourui") currently in existence is the echidna (ハリモグラ, "harimogura").

This means that I can now say things like
(While the only two remaining monotremes, the platypus and echidna, are part of the mammal family, they lay eggs and don't have nipples.)

I guarantee that this knowledge is coming soon to a conversation near you! Man, I am sooo gonna be the life of the party tomorrow night. ;P

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