A ‘scapegoat’ originates from the Biblical atonement ceremony in Leviticus 16. On the day of atonement, God instructs Aaron to take two identical goats. One of the goats is to be offered as a sacrifice to God as a ‘sin sacrifice.’ The other one is to be offered to Azazel and must sent into the wilderness bearing all the sins of Israel. Some biblical scholars theorize that the Barabbas story in Matthew’s gospel is an allegory designed to mirror the atonement ceremony in Leviticus.
Only two kinds of egg-laying mammals are left on the planet today—the duck-billed platypus and the echidna, or spiny anteater. These odd “monotremes” once dominated Australia, until their pouch-bearing cousins, the marsupials, invaded the land down under 71 million to 54 million years ago and swept them away.