Northland faculty and alumni have created a well-needed bit of fun in the science world with their recent paper about glowing platypuses.
After their discovery of pink fluorescing flying squirrels in 2019, Northland professors Paula Spaeth Anich, Sharon Anthony, Michaela Carlson, Jonathan Martin, and Erik Olson and capstone students Adam Gunnelson and Allison Kohler kept shining their light. While on a research-finding trip to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois, Anich, Martin, and Olson put a black light to preserved platypus specimens—and their brownish pelts glowed blue.
Their findings published October 15 in Mammalia have forever changed the way we think about the seemingly dull brown-coated animals. In the week since their findings were published, 142 publications from thirty-plus countries have reported on the story.—in multiple languages.
The team has been approached by children’s book authors, radio hosts, podcasts, and even The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
The humble research team has taken the unexpected spotlight in stride—one interview at a time—and with good humor. “It’s getting kind of crazy,” they agreed.
Online and Print
New York Times
Platypuses Glow Under Black Light.
We Have No Idea Why.
What Other Secrets Are They Hiding?
New York Magazine, The Cut
Scientists Find Platypuses Glow Under Black Light
We Knew Platypuses Were Incredible. Now we know they glow, too.
The fur of the platypus glows under a blacklight—a finding that raises questions about its role in these strange mammals.
Platypuses Glow Green Under Ultraviolet Light
The web-footed monotremes join a small cast of fluorescent, nocturnal mammals.
A blue-green glow adds to platypuses’ long list of bizarre features
The fur of Australia’s iconic oddity fluoresces under ultraviolet light
Podcast: Big Picture Science
The Glowing Platypus
Podcast: Science Vs (6 minutes)
Platypuses Get a Glow Up
NPR: Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me
Bill Kurtis reads three news-related limericks: Disco Platypus, Cuddly Critters, and Cowa-Hug-a!
ABC News Radio Australia
Dr. Paula Anich speaks with Fiona Poole (starts at 1:18)
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
A Late Show with Stephen Colbert