Produced in 1983 by the Institute of Biology as part of its Studies in Biology series, this booklet looks at the mammals of Australia, monotremes such as the platypus and marsupials like koalas and kangaroos. The resource considers their origins and biological features, including reproduction, temperature, energy relations and brain function, and makes comparisons with placental mammals.
1. Origins of mammals and the relationships of monotremes
2. General features and natural history of monotremes
Looking at the platypus, echidna or spiny anteater, and long beaked echidnas
3. Reproductive biology of monotremes
Looking at monotreme eggs, reproductive anatomy, breeding cycles, lactation and mammary glands and the poison spur and crural system.
4. Energy and temperature relations of monotremes
The characteristics of homeothermy, metabolic relationships of monotremes, temperature regulation in the cold, hibernation and temperature regulation at high temperatures.
5 Cardiovascular and neural physiology of monotremes
Cardiovascular physiology, brain and intelligence.
6. Marsupials: rigins and historical biogeography
The tribosphenic molar, the site of origin of marsupials, the tertiary radiation of marsupials and marsupial extinctions, both Pleistocene and more recent.
7. Marsupial types, their habits and relationships
Problems of marsupial classification, marsupial families and evolutionary relationships of marsupials.
8. Reproduction in marsupials
Reproductive anatomy of female marsupials, reproductive cycles, foetal development and placental relationships, relative efficiency of marsupial reproduction.