The ability to suckle milk is a defining characteristic of mammals. Yet, one branch of mammals, egg-laying monotremes, which include the platypus and echidna, do not. Monotreme babies instead lap or slurp milk from patches on the mother's skin. New research by Professor Emeritus, AW "Fuzz" Crompton and his assistant, Catherine Musinsky, suggests suckling was part of the original mammalian package. The study is featured in Science Magazine,
Prof. Crompton joined OEB in 1970, where he served both as Director of the @mczharvard and Professor of Biology. In 1972 he was awarded the Alexander Agassiz Professorship; and in 1985 became the Fisher Professor of Natural History, which he remained until his retirement from teaching in 2000. He stayed on as Fisher Research Professor of Natural History until his Emeritus appointment in 2003, under which he continues to conduct research to this day.
Image: "New Year's Eve echidna" by Barry Thomas, Flickr, https://bit.ly/2BbfzRr #harvard #harvardoeb #suckling #monotremes #mammals #echidna #paleontology #thrinaxodon #brasilitherium #monotremeanatomy