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    Ancient Extinct Species of Giant Platypus Identified by a Single Tooth

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    Researchers from the University of New South Wales in Australia have identified a previously unknown extinct species of giant platypus based on analysis of a single tooth fossil.


    Researchers from the University of New South Wales in Australia have identified a previously unknown extinct species of giant platypus based on analysis of a single tooth fossil.

    The platypus tooth fossil was found in the Riversleigh World Heritage Area of Northwest Queensland in Australia.

    Rebecca Pian was the lead researcher on the study of the tooth as an undergraduate student at the University of New South Wales and is currently working as a vertebrate paleontologist at Columbia University and the American Museum of Natural History.

    Pian is quoted as saying: “The fossil record is very, very patchy for the platypus, and these are a unique group of mammals.”

    Platypus are very unusual mammals - they lay eggs, have a duck-like bill covered with electroreceptors that help them hunt underwater, and the males have sharp poisonous spurs on their back feet.

    Three other extinct species of platypus have previously been discovered, and one of them was found at the same site as the tooth.

    The latest find at Riversleigh will help scientists further understand the lineage of these unique creatures.