from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A platypus, (genus Ornithorhynchus).
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The typical and only genus of the family Ornithorhynchidæ.
- n. [lowercase] An animal of this genus; a duckbill.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. type genus of the family Ornithorhynchidae
John Cox presented the commander with two specimens of the water-mole, also called the ornithorhynchus, a curious amphibious creature, the habits of which are still little known to European naturalists, many museums not possessing a single specimen.
The guest had little difficulty, in recognising the uncouth form of the ornithorhynchus, or water-mole; but he turned with yet more eagerness, towards the spot, whence that shot had proceeded.
Sir Henry saw that his guest was puzzled by this dialogue, and good-naturedly showed him the distinguishing characteristic of the male ornithorhynchus -- the spur on the hinder foot, which is hollow, and transmits an envenomed liquid, secreted by a gland on the inner surface of the thigh.
It is not true, for instance, when a person is presented with a strange object, say an _ornithorhynchus_, and realizes it in only a vague way, that any mere analysis of the object will discover for him the various characteristics which are to synthesize into a knowledge of the animal.
Unless, for instance, the person already knew certain characteristics of both birds and animals, he could not interpret the ornithorhynchus as a bird-beaked animal.
Nearly the same remarks are applicable if we look to the different grades of organization within the same great group; for instance, in the vertebrata to the coexistence of mammals and fish; amongst mammalia to the coexistence of man and the ornithorhynchus; amongst fishes to the coexistence of the shark and the lancelet (Amphioxus), which later fish in the extreme simplicity of its structure approaches the invertebrate classes.
But we must state that it is scientifically false to ask oneself if the dog be beautiful, and the ornithorhynchus ugly; if the lily be beautiful, and the artichoke ugly.
"Then I'll buy a pet armadillo or an ornithorhynchus instead," threatened the Master.
An early European settler in Australia, in conjecturing whether his garden had been ravaged by a bird or by a quadruped, would not light readily on the conception of an ornithorhynchus; and assuredly no one accustomed only to ordinary men and women could have divined the character, the training, and the position of Charlotte Brontë, as they have been made known to us by her biographer's unsparing revelations.
Beginning with the lowlier group of mammals we find in the base of the series the ornithorhynchus and its allies, creatures which have nothing to recommend them but their exceeding organic peculiarities that render them attractive to the naturalist, but which are not likely to win them
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