(with apologies to Charles Doolittle Walcott, Alston Chase, and William
               "The frontal bill may have provoked most astonishment but
     the rear end also provided numerous reasons for amazement.  Sir Charles
     Napier, subdued the Indian province of Sind and announced his triumph,
     via telegram to his superiors in London, with the minimal but fully 
     adequate `Peccavi.'
               This tale, in its own telegraphic way, speaks volumes about
     the social order and education of imperial Britain.  What could this
     curious melange be, beyond a divine test of faith and patience?  Owen
     then counterattacked to support Meckle for three reasons:
               the glands are largest after the inferred time of birth:
               the female, living in sand and unable to thicken mucus in water
     possesses glands of the same form;
               finally, Owen suspended the secretion in alcohol and obtained
     globules, like milk.
               269, 270, 271, 277, 276, 275, 
               Internally the puzzle only increased.  Chinese taxidermists
     had long fooled (and defrauded) European mariners with heads or trunks
     of monkeys stiched to the hind parts of fish. - one prominent source for
     the persistance of mermaid legends.  But Shaw could find no stitches,
     and the skeleton was surely discrete and of one functional piece.  Shaw
               `On a subject so extra ordinary as the present, a degree of
     scepticism is not only pardonable but laudable.'
               The glands were enormous, extending nearly from the forelegs
     to the hind limbs - and they led to no common opening, for no nipples
     could be found.  But the Old Testament author of Proverbs, speaking of
     wisdom rather than evolution, provided the proper metaphor, etz chayim:
     She is a tree of life.
               Geoffroy, committed to oviparity and unwilling to admit anything
     like a mammilian upbringing, counterattacked.  Don't shoehorn monotremes
     into the class mammilia to make everything neat and foreclose discussion,
     he pleads.
               `The blacks were paid half-a-crown for every female, but the
     price of flour, tea, and suger, which I sold to them, rose with the
     supply of Echidna.  The half-crowns were, therefor always just sufficient
     to buy food enough to keep the lazy blacks hungry.'
               This configuration inevitably led to a most troubling hypothesis
     for biologists committed, as most were in these pre-Darwinian days, to 
     the division of nature into unambiguous, static catagories: no uterus,
     no internal space.  The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely
     have been reversed by modern studies - enterprises of great pith and
               Would Australia also yield the ultimate embarrassment of fur
     from eggs?"
     (I have sinned.  The fossil building blocks are random quotes from a
     Stephen J. Gould reflection on scientific mis-understanding of the
     platypus.  The emerging complex reality is your own.)
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