Platypuses are venomous, semi-aquatic, egg-laying mammals with duck bills, otter feet, and beaver tails. So it's no wonder the first Europeans to hear about them didn't believe they were real. Robert Knox, a prominent scientist of the day, was thoroughly convinced the first specimen sent from the Australian coast was a Chinese hoax. Some say he even went looking for the seams in this allegedly fraudulent work of taxidermy. (Of course, there were none.) But the reasons for skepticism extend beyond the platypus' strange morphology. On this week's episode, I talk about a few of the very real nature scams circulating in the 18th and 19th centuries, including P.T. Barnum's nightmare-inducing "Feejee Mermaid," the lies circling the pelican, and the overstated case of the mastodon.