A superb vintage illustration of two Duck-billed Platypus. The German name for the animal was "Das australische Wasserschnabeltier". Platypus and Echidna are the only are monotremes (order of egg-laying mammals). The four species of echidna, together with the platypus, are the only surviving members of that order. They live in Australia. The unusual appearance of this egg-laying, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal baffled European naturalists when they first encountered it, with some considering it an elaborate fraud. It is one of the few venomous mammals, the male platypus having a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans. The unique features of the platypus make it an important subject in the study of evolutionary biology and a recognisable and iconic symbol of Australia.