Only eight years after Columbus first set foot on American soil, an opossum entered the pages of recorded history. A Southern opossum from Brazil was the first marsupial to be brought to Europe. The explorer Vincente Pinzón presented her to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain in 1500, and showed them the opossum’s young in her pouch. The monarchs called the opossum an “incredible mother”.

Whence from, and whither bound?

For several centuries following Columbus, various forms of opossums were the only marsupials that Europeans had seen. There certainly were enough of them; today, 66 species are recognized. Their current range extends from southeastern Canada in the north, through the United States, Mexico, and Central America, and into Argentina in the south…

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