The winner of evolution

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Why the platypus is the most glorious organism in the universe

During the course of our planet’s existence, Mother Nature has undeniably come up with a number of things that qualifies the usage of the nowadays severely overextended adjective ‘awesome’. Stuff like goats, aurora borealis or how the rays of sun playfully kisses the morning dew on a grassy field accompanied by a symphony of joyful chirping. One can wonder whether Mother Nature does this merely because she enjoys how silly us humans look when we we stand gawping in admiration, mouths and eyes wide open expressing our marvel through a collective crescendo of ‘whoooaaaw’. This just goes to show that nature has a Michael Bay-like inclination towards unnecessary special effects, as she could easily have induced a similar state in men by the merely increasing the natural occurrence of Kate Upton walking around in her underwear.

Anyway, in the wonderful piece of art that we call ‘nature’, the devil is in the details, and on this occasion I shall draw your attention to one particularly devilish detail. One that will leave you awestruck, flabbergasted and quite possibly immobilized with fear; namely the platypus.

The platypus is a relatively small beaver-duck hybrid living in Australia, aka the place where every single organism evolved with the specific purpose of doing death. And yet this funny-looking semi-aquatic furball positively thrives in its ecology, with all other organisms effectively being its bitch. It is naturally quite difficult to find a good place to start when trying to bring an organism made of pure badass down to the level of human comprehension, a difficulty in part caused by the platypus giving zero fucks about adhering to the rules of human conventional discourse. For example, it is a mammal that nonetheless lays eggs, because fuck you and your taxonomy.

When a platypus is hatched, it will like other mammals be in need of nutrition from its mother. Unlike other mammals, however, mama platypus doesn’t want her offspring to become one of those spoiled brats who gets everything served on a silver plate, so instead of giving her newborn milk through easily accessible nipples she just secretes the stuff directly out of her pores. The baby platypus then has to climb around on. Already in its most desperately helpless and vulnerable state the platypus is imprinted with the mindset that if you want to live, you better be prepared to work hard for it.

Shortly after coming into this world, the platypus develops teeth that it loses soon after, presumably because, in adherence with the logic outlined above, retaining them would simply make life too easy. While on the subject of deliberately making life more challenging most other mammals keep their internal temperature at a tropical 37 degrees Celsius, whereas the platypus has no need for such luxury and trods along at a mere 32 degrees.

The platypus is of course a carnivore. It kills its prey by stepping on it. That’s right, the platypus has poisonous feet. It has enough venom in its hindlimbs to kill a dog, and in the case of humans, produce pain ‘so excruciating that the victim may be incapacitated’, (wikipedia). I should therefore strongly advocate that you do not, under any circumstances, oblige a platypus’ friendly request for a foot massage.

If you are not yet convinced that the platypus should be placed on a pedestal and praised as the undisputed winner of evolution, there is one more trait of this magnificent creature that should damn well do the job: Electroperception. The goddamn platypus can sense electrical currents. It uses this skill to locate prey in circumstances when other forms of perceptions are blocked, such as muddy waters. No matter how well you are camouflaged, how well you can secrete hormones that make you smell like a regular rock, even if you have a conjured up a cloak of invisibility the platypus can and will find, as the tiny electrical currents your muscles generate will give you away. The mere fact that you exists is enough to enable the platypus to hunt you.

In sum, if you ever have the grave misfortune of aggravating a platypus, you would do well to settle your accounts, tell your parents you love them and try to make peace with your maker. If a platypus has decided that your life is on its list of things it wishes to sabotage, it will sneak into your home, take away your dignity by using its electro-superpowers to plant a horrible internet search history on your computer, immobilize you with its poisonous feet before gangnam-styling you to death. The humiliation is complete when the last thing you experience before entering the afterlife is the sensation of having an egg laid on your face.

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