National Geographic : 1971 Feb
Australia. suckles its young.) Part reptile. (It lays eggs.) And utterly improbable looking. It has webbed feet but a furry body. A rubbery radarlike duckbill. And a furry, ruddery tail. The best place to see one is in the platypusary (that's right, platypusary) in Healesville, near Melbourne. 150 years ago scientists laughed at it and said it was a hoax. The platypus is having the last laugh because now they think he's the missing link between mammal and reptile. A missing link between modern man and prehistoric man was just discovered out in the outback. (That's the vast desert area out in the center of the country.) Primitive stone carvings that date the carvers back as far as 100,000 years ago. Or more. Which is ear lier than even the Aborigines. (Up until now everybody thought the Aborigines were the first Austra lians.) You can also see the world's biggest rock, carved or other wise, out in the outback. Near Alice Springs. One solid mass of sandstone that changes from pink to bluish brown to orange to a real red depend ing on how the sun feels that day. Coral reefs and electric fish. An opera house that looks like it could fly. And birds that never will. Non-bear bears and funny looking animals. You've got to see them to not believe them. Now American Airlines can take you to them. (Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, and Hawaii too. Though not necessarily in that order.) And you can pay for it all with your American Express Money Card, over an extended period of time. But it's a good idea to call your Travel Agent before you go. He probably didn't believe Australia himself. And although he may still have some doubts ofhisown,hecandoalot to assuage some of yours. About hotel accommoda tions. Tickets. And even where's a good place to eat. Or call us. American Airlines. It's good to know you're on American Airlines.