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The Greatest Fraud in Human History

This Friday will mark the anniversary of the greatest fraud in human history.  I'm speaking, of course, about the publication of the first scientific description of the platypus in the June 1799 issue of The Naturalist's Miscellany.  In this journal, the English zoologist George Shaw detailed an "animal" that was a preposterous potpourri of several properties: a ducky beak, a beaver's tail, a venomous stinger, a missing stomach -- yes, that's right, the platypus doesn't have a stomach. Scientists claim that the creature just happened to misplace this essential digestive organ as it evolved during the millennia. What kind of animal doesn't have a stomach? Well, obviously an imaginary one. And I'm not going to even dignify that whole egg-laying mammal nonsense with a rebuttal.

For over 200 years since the publication of Mr. Shaw's fake news, this sham has grown in scope as disreputable biologists and Australian pranksters have hoodwinked the public through the use of trick photography and elaborate platypus puppetry. Why would anyone coax folks into believing this hoax? Well, as any good conspiracy theorist would say, "Follow the money." OK, maybe the preceding sentence doesn't make any sense, but the logic of this article is irrefutable.

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I mean look at this guy. Even he doesn't believe that he exists.
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