Platypus & Koala

First European sketches of Australian mammals (1801)

    Strange new forms of animals unfamiliar to European science, including the egg-laying platypus (Ornithorhynchus) [Monotremata] and the pouched koala (Phascolarctos) [Marsupialia], were found in Australia by the Flinders expedition and drawn by the expedition's artist, Ferdinand Bauer. Flinders headed home on the HMS Porpoise with the drawings, but the ship was wrecked, most of the drawings lost, and Flinders himself imprisoned by the French. The drawings were widely thought to be hoaxes. Note that the oddities of the marsupial Virginia opossum (Didelphis) from North America were known to Linnaeus.

Text material © 2018 by Steven M. Carr