One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Treated as plural. The single order of mammals included in the subclass Prototheria, comprising egg-laying mammals which which have a common opening for the urogenital and digestive systems; animals of this order (collectively or individually), monotremes.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Richard Owen (1804–1892), comparative anatomist and palaeontologist. From scientific Latin Monotremata, order name from ancient Greek μονο- + τρηματ-, τρῆμα hole, orifice.
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