Remains of a 150-year-old platypus and echidna specimens at an English museum were uncovered, proving that some mammals could lay eggs.

According to The Independent, the microscopic samples were discovered on the shelves of Cambridge’s University Museum of Zoology after being collected by scientist William Caldwell in the late 1800s.

These specimens were crucial in establishing that certain animals lay eggs when they were taken, a finding that transformed the trajectory of scientific thought and backed the idea of evolution.

It was discovered while Jack Ashby, the museum’s assistant director, was researching a new book on Australian animals.

150-Year-Old Platypus and Echidna Specimens Rediscovered, Support Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection

(Photo : Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 09: A platypus receives a health check at Taronga Zoo on June 09, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. RSPCA NSW has donated $600,000 to fund a new Platypus Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre at Taronga Zoo. While not officially listed as a threatened species, new research suggests the platypus could be on the brink of extinction due to damaged waterways, land clearing and climate change.

Scottish Zoologist Finds Echidna, Platypus Eggs

In the 19th century, there was a debate about whether mammals could lay eggs or not. According to Ashby, many conservative scientists didn’t want to believe that it was possible as it would support Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and they didn’t want to welcome the idea that an animal group could change into another.

They reportedly dismissed the idea of lizards and frogs laying eggs because they felt it was degrading to be related to them, which they considered to be “lower life forms.”

To resolve the issue, the Royal Society and the British Government sent William Caldwell, a famous Cambridge physicist and zoologist, to Australia in 1883.

A year later, an echidna with an egg in her pouch and a platypus with one egg in her nest and another about to be laid. The announcement was broadcast worldwide, ending nearly a century of discussion, but it wasn’t cataloged in the museum because the staff was not aware of it until recently, The Telegraph reported.

Ashby suspected that Caldwell’s findings were in the archives and he was right. Manager Matthew Lowe found a small box of specimens from Caldwell. 

Apparently, Caldwell collected around 1,400 specimens with the help of Aboriginal Australians during an intensive search. Among their findings were an echidna with an egg in her pouch and a platypus with one egg in her nest and another deposited in 1884.

Caldwell’s Findings Support Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

Caldwell sought convincing confirmation, and the news was broadcast throughout the world. However, the colonial scientific establishment had a condition to accept the result. They wanted it to be confirmed by “one of their own,” Daily Mail reported.

It was considered that all mammals gave birth to live offspring until Europeans discovered platypuses and echidnas, spiny anteaters, in the 1790s, which supports Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution about natural selection.

According to Darwin’s theory of natural selection, living organisms adapt and change to better suit their environment to survive and reproduce. Natural selection is a genetic mutation beneficial to one’s survival being passed down during reproduction. 

For example, giraffes have long necks, and it serves as their competitive advantage to feed on leaves others can’t reach. Giraffes have evolving long necks. 

They do not have the same length of necks, but those with longer necks tend to likely survive than those with shorter necks and reproduce, passing the characteristics to the succeeding generation.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Black Adults Raised in the South Have Greater Risk of Lower Cognitive Performance in Later Life

Summary: Black adults who grew up socially disadvantaged and poor in the American South are more likely to experience cognitive decline as they age than white people with a similar background. Researchers report socioeconomic status, race, and childhood factors play a significant role in cognitive decline associated with aging. Source: ...

View more: Black Adults Raised in the South Have Greater Risk of Lower Cognitive Performance in Later Life

Genes Responsible for Glioblastoma Cell Development Identified

Summary: Study reveals the ZNF117 gene is a major regulator of glioblastoma tumor cells. Source: Yale A recent research paper published in Nature Communications by a team led by Yale School of Medicine researchers finds a promising way to make brain cancer cells more susceptible to chemotherapy. Glioblastoma is the most common ...

View more: Genes Responsible for Glioblastoma Cell Development Identified

Pescatarian or High-Fish Diet May Not Be Bad for You

Summary: The chemical form of mercury found in the brains of people who consume a high fish diet is completely different from the form of mercury found in the brains of those who were poisoned. Source: University of Saskatchewan A synchrotron-based study led by University of Saskatchewan (USask) researchers shows ...

View more: Pescatarian or High-Fish Diet May Not Be Bad for You

Climate Change Likely to Reduce the Amount of Sleep That People Get per Year

Summary: Increasing ambient temperatures have a negative impact on sleep duration, researchers report. Source: Cell Press Most research looking at the impact of climate change on human life has focused on how extreme weather events affect economic and societal health outcomes on a broad scale. Yet climate change may also ...

View more: Climate Change Likely to Reduce the Amount of Sleep That People Get per Year

ATP From Sensory Neuron-Interneuron Crosstalk Is Key to Spreading Inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Summary: In rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation in one joint is transmitted to other joints via the sensory neuron connections in the spinal cord, leading to inflammation in the other joints. Inflammation in one joint led to an increase in ATP in other joints, which triggered an increase of a signaling molecule ...

View more: ATP From Sensory Neuron-Interneuron Crosstalk Is Key to Spreading Inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis

New Research Finds Drinking Alcohol More Dangerous to the Heart Than Previously Thought

Heart MRI scan. Levels of alcohol consumption currently considered safe by some countries are associated with the development of heart failure, according to new research presented at Heart Failure 2022, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).[1] “This study adds to the body of evidence that a ...

View more: New Research Finds Drinking Alcohol More Dangerous to the Heart Than Previously Thought

Kayakers Recover Ancient Skull from Minnesota River That Dates Back 8,000 Years Ago

(Photo : Engin Akyurt from Pexels) A broken human skull was unearthed in the Minnesota River last summer by citizens during a kayak activity. The bone is expected to be returned to the authorities of the Native American community after findings show that the remains dated approximately 8,000 years ...

View more: Kayakers Recover Ancient Skull from Minnesota River That Dates Back 8,000 Years Ago

High Blood Pressure? Adaptation Intervention Can Make Low-Salt Food Taste Better

According to a new research study in patients with high blood pressure, it is possible for taste buds to adapt and learn to like food with less salt. A taste adaptation intervention lowers salt consumption and increases the enjoyment of a sodium-restricted diet in patients with high blood pressure (hypertension), ...

View more: High Blood Pressure? Adaptation Intervention Can Make Low-Salt Food Taste Better

Over 2 Million Stranded, 57 Died in Bangladesh and India Flooding; What Could Have Caused the Floods?

Massive 30-Foot Sperm Whale Washed Ashore in Israel Beach Found Dead; The Second Case This Year

What Is Urinary Bladder Cancer? Scientific Advancements in Medicine, Diagnoses, and Management Discussed

Two Years After Infection, Half of People Hospitalized With COVID-19 Still Have at Least One Symptom

Crucial Link Found Between Arthritis, Serious Liver Disease and a Common Genetic Condition

Hope for Spinal Cord Injury Treatment

Social Isolation in Childhood Is Associated With ADHD Symptoms and Loneliness in Young Adulthood

In What Language Is a Bilingual or Multilingual Person Most Likely to Dream?

Monkeypox Cases Rise in the US as New Case Detected in New York City

Humans May Have Evolved to Show Signs of Stress to Evoke Support From Others

Stress Can Make You More Selfish

The Crucial Role of Vitamin D in Your Diet

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News