Nature/Nurture QI


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Nature/Nurture

Sandi Toksvig looks at nature and nurture with Ross Noble, Cariad Lloyd, David Baddiel and Alan Davies.


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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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How lovely!

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Very nice! Lovely!

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Thank you very much.

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Good evening and welcome to QI,

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where tonight we are nurturing nature

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and our guests are a natural selection.

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A natural woman, Cariad Lloyd.

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A natural gas, Ross Noble.

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A natural resource, David Baddiel.

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And a natural disaster, Alan Davies.

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And we have a natural selection of buzzers.

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Cariad goes...

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BUZZER CHIRPS

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Oh, that's rather pretty, isn't it? Ross goes...

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BUZZER HONKS

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I went out with somebody like that once.

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David goes...

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BUZZER TRUMPETS

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Wow. Alan goes...

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BUZZER YAPS EXTENSIVELY

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SHOTS FIRE AND YAPPING CEASES

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LAUGHTER

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I don't know if that means you can ever press it again.

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-I'm afraid to, in case another one dies.

-I know.

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Question one concerns the most natural noise in the world.

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Why do bees hum?

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People hum,

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I've noticed this, when people are a bit embarrassed.

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-Oh, right.

-Because they don't know what to say

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-and I wondered if bees did it.

-Yeah, so, no.

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Is it something to do with pollen?

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-Yes.

-So it's about finding pollen?

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It is to do with pollen.

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Is it sending out a vibration?

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Absolutely right, absolutely right, that there are bees...

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It looked like people were going to applaud, there,

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but they weren't sure if they wanted to applaud.

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Some bees, not all bees,

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literally shake pollen out of flowers

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by humming very loudly at them.

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-Do they?

-Isn't it astonishing? They hold on to the flower and they beat

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their wing muscles phenomenally fast and those rapid muscle contractions

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produce forces of up to 30G,

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so that is about three times what you would get from a fighter jet

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making a tight turn. I mean, it's absolutely astonishing.

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It's also the reason why they banned sex toys from Kew Gardens.

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Because... It's true...

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Is that actually in the rule book? "No sex toys"?

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That's certainly why I got thrown out!

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-They got confiscated.

-Exactly.

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HE IMITATES BUZZING

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"What are you doing?! We need that pollen."

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"I'm sorry, I can't turn it off!"

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How big was the sex toy?

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That was like a fishing rod!

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-I don't want to know.

-She's a very lucky woman, my wife.

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But it is incredible,

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that thing you can see on their leg there is called a corbicula

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and it is the little basket that they keep the pollen in.

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Scientists, they did research and the best bit of the bee

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-is its knees.

-Oh, right.

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Shortly followed by the testicles of a dog.

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-All in science, all in science.

-No, I'm glad you brought it up.

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There is a bee that, when it goes near, it creates, like, electricity.

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So this is an extraordinary thing,

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it can also harness electrostatic forces,

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so when a bee flies through the air, the friction that it causes,

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it causes their bodies to build up a positive charge.

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This is incredible - when they get close to the flower,

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which usually carries a negative charge,

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the grains of pollen literally jump from the plant to the insect.

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They learn to distinguish the different electrical fields around

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different flowers so they can tell which plants have nearly been depleted of pollen

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-and they don't bother with it.

-Do they work for npower?

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-You said some bees.

-Yeah.

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-Some are electric, some are acoustic bees?

-Yes.

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There's a wasp in the background going...

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"Judas!"

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And they don't hum, they go...

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-HE HUMS:

-I'm good in the library...

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That does sound like...

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Dylan obviously sounds like a bee, doesn't he?

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Yeah. He does.

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And that's why, a lot of his gigs, pollen all over him.

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HE SINGS

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He's got terrible hay fever.

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Has anybody ever heard bees having sex?

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Oh, yeah. Yeah. It was one of the worst porn films I ever saw.

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-There it is, in fact.

-They got kicked out of Kew Gardens for that.

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The extraordinary thing is, that it makes an audible sound.

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It's a very female centred society, the women do all the work.

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I know, Cariad, no change there.

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-No change.

-And the drones, the boys,

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their sole job is to mate with the queen and hardly any of them get a

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chance to do so, but if you manage to mate with the queen,

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once you have done so, your phallus ejaculates from your body,

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the whole thing tears off with an audible pop.

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CARIAD LAUGHS

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I've finished!

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I think most blokes would think that's worth it.

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Well, it actually plugs up the vagina.

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That's the whole point, it stops the semen coming back out again.

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So all of the drones want to mate with the queen,

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but only a very few of them are able to do so.

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It's like Beyonce and Jay-Z, so many want Queen B,

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she chooses one who lets her down and then she steals his phallus

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and makes an album about it.

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She has sex with multiple drones and then...

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-Beyonce?!

-Not Beyonce!

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What does she do with all the spare, er...?

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The spare?

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They get ejected eventually, she gets rid of them.

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That must be intimidating,

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you go in to see the queen and they're all on a shelf.

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It's not a shelf! It's a dartboard!

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Don't open the door!

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The bee that's just had sex with her,

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he walks out and there's a big long queue and then his cock just hits

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him on the back of the head.

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"Take that with you!" "Sorry."

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Now, describe nature's Top Gear.

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Nature's drugs?

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-Oh, is that a thing? Drugs?

-Gear, you know, your gear, man.

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Don't...

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"I've got some top gear for you."

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OK, it's not gear in the sense of drugs.

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What other kind of gears are there?

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-In a car.

-The cogs of something.

-Yes, yes, yes.

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Nature is full of tremendous wonders and nothing I think more wonderful

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than the immature planthopper or a nymph and gears.

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Now, you can't really tell cos it's a massive picture,

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but they're only three millimetres long.

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I'm really glad that's a massive picture.

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They tend on the whole to move very slowly cos they don't want to

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attract attention, which is really sweet,

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but they are able to jump up to one metre from a standing start.

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So, that is 300 times their own body length.

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Imagine if it was me,

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I would be able to jump from a standing start a third of a mile.

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I'd love to see that.

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And now, the thing is, if you jump that far

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and you don't get your timing spot on,

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you spiral out of control, so they have little tiny,

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tiny gears that enable them to synchronise their legs

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within 30 millionths of a second.

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You can see here, the top of each hind leg has a circular set

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of minute teeth, and just before takeoff, the insect's thighs,

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they squeeze together.

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You can see they're kind of ratcheting up,

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causing the teeth to mesh like gears and the legs are then locked

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together and then they can thrust off like that in perfect unison.

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That's amazing.

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It's amazing, but it looked like CCTV of it,

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so I wonder if it committed a crime.

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"Seen fleeing the scene!"

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Nobody will be surprised to hear that cows emit a lot of methane,

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so what would you use to ensure your cow meets emissions standards?

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Is this about cows farting?

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Well, it doesn't come out just one end, does it?

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-Farts don't come out of just one end?

-No, the methane.

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-Oh, are they burping as well?

-They do.

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I know how they feel. It's difficult if you're a gassy lady.

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-Are you a gassy person?

-I'm so gassy.

-Are you?

-Yeah, it's insane.

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Are you responsible for global warming? Is it you?

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An area of North London, yes.

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-That's me, soz.

-I don't know why it is that some people are and some

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people aren't. In my entire life - this is a very odd thing to admit -

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-I have never farted.

-What?!

-What?

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Seriously. That is a very bold claim.

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-I know.

-So what you mean is you haven't let rip?

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-No!

-Have you found yourself ever rising off a seat?

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Or perhaps you just have incredibly taut buttocks.

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I'm happy to take that claim, yes.

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Only dogs can hear them.

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-Oh.

-They're just in a different frequency from everybody else's.

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It's no wonder our dog goes mad every now and then.

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Is the dog down there, going, "Blame it on Sandi"?

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Come on, now, what are we going to do?

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We need... So, a badly tuned car belches out all sorts of pollutions.

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-What do we do?

-Is it something to do with what you're feeding them?

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Erm, no, it's an actual device.

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A catalytic converter?

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It is, a catalytic converter for cows.

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These particular catalytic converters go in the nose

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of the cow, so they go like that.

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That's a scientific drawing right there!

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Very technical.

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Is that a gin and tonic going into its nose?

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It doesn't have to be cows, it can be sheep or goats or whatever

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and the apparatus is retained in the nostril by one or more springs or

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other mechanical devices and configured to ignite in the presence

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of methane gas.

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Incredible, because then it would be like a sort of a cow-dragon.

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Yeah.

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And then late at night, if you were lost in the hills...

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-Yeah.

-..warm milk.

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Ah, here's the thing. You don't need to get lost because it can also be

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fitted with a GPS tracker.

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Is it actually succeeding, this,

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in stopping the methane emissions from cows?

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Not yet. It's a brand-new notion as to how to do it.

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Something that is succeeding is fistulating cows.

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-What, they've got holes in?

-Yeah, they've got holes in them.

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I've seen this. When you look in, all it is, is grass,

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like a big hopper full of grass, honestly, it is,

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and I seen a documentary where a doctor or a vet, I suppose...

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I'd hope so.

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..put his arm in, rummaging around and showing you the...

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It's really weird and the cow's just standing looking, it looked fine.

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They don't seem to be in the slightest bit bothered by it. It is a sort of rubber cannula...

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It unscrews, a bit like a petrol can, and you're quite right,

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you can put your hand right inside the cow.

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Why might you want to do that?

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Because he's got a very busy day and you want to have

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a business meeting with James Herriot.

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He's got his hand up the cow's bum and he goes...

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-You shake his hand.

-..put it in, shake the hand...

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You've sorted that deal with James Herriot.

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-That's it.

-So it just vents? It vents the cow?

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No, you actually want to get to the stomach contents.

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Why might you want to do that? There's something in there that...?

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Yeah, so, basically,

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you may have a sick cow and the cow that is fistulated

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is perfectly healthy.

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You want to get some of the bacteria from the stomach

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of the healthy cow and give it directly to the other cow.

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-It is a cunning plan.

-It IS a cunning plan.

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You also can check exactly what the nutrients that the cow was eating,

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how they're breaking down in the stomach.

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-Isn't it...?

-It doesn't bother them in the slightest.

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-Are you sure?

-Absolutely.

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Honestly, it's the weirdest thing I've ever seen.

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It would bother me, I think, if I had one of those here.

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Which is a shame, because we were going to do...

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-an experiment.

-Yeah, come on, that would be a hell of a party piece,

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-though, wouldn't it?

-What? If you had it in your head?

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No, no, just, you know, "Baddiel's here, come on,

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"let's see what he's had for dinner."

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Then if you were a bit peaky,

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someone would reach inside and give my bacteria to Ross Noble.

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-That's what would happen.

-It would be a strange thing.

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Yeah, like, say you had the last French fancy...

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You can't just have it if you wanted my food.

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That's not how it works.

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You've understood that the French fancy direct from his stomach is not

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going to look as attractive as when he first ate it?

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That's the thing about Mr Kipling,

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he makes such exceedingly good cakes whatever form they're in.

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Anyway, what's the point of licking your own eyeballs?

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Oh, quite a lot of animals lick their eyeballs.

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-Lizards do that.

-They do. Why do they?

-For moisture.

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For moisture. So this is the palmato gecko, lives in the Namib Desert,

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so that's kind of Namibia, South Africa, that area.

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It's one of the driest places on Earth,

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so it needs to use all its ingenuity to get moisture,

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so it gets a little bit of moisture from its diet of insects,

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but it perches on a sand dune and it waits for the early morning fog

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to condense as water droplets on its absolutely massive eyes

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-and then it licks it off with its very long tongue.

-Wow!

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-That is very clever.

-They also don't have eyelids, so licking also helps

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-to keep their eyes clean.

-I mean, to be fair, I have been to that desert.

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I rode a motorbike across that desert.

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- I've been to that desert, too. - Have you?

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Fight, fight, fight!

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Lick your eyes, lick your eyes!

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It's amazing, it's an incredible place.

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Yes, extraordinary and incredible. Quick supplementary question,

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what do they call a ship of the desert in Namibia?

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You mean a camel?

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CLAXON WAILS

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How stupid of me.

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The question was "in Namibia".

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-Is it not camel, it's the other one?

-What's the other one?

-Dramadon?

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-Dromedary?

-A Dromadon's from Star Wars.

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Hey! There is nothing wrong with something from Star Wars.

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There are different kinds,

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there are Bactrian camels and there are dromedaries.

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Do you know how you can remember which is which?

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-No.

-Cos one's got two humps and one's got one.

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The dromedary begins with a D, which is one hump,

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and the Bactrian begins with B, which is two humps,

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so that's how you can remember, and it's completely the wrong answer.

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Is it a Toyota pick-up or something like that?

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-It's nearer that.

-It's an actual ship.

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-It's an actual ship.

-I know this, there's a coastline...

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Don't click your fingers at me!

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Sorry! I wasn't clicking them AT you.

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Suddenly I've turned into a waiter with no English!

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Skeleton Coast.

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Yeah, the Skeleton Coast in Namibia. Skeleton.

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Yeah, stop saying skeleton!

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You should have your own separate programme about Namibia,

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where you can fight about how much you love...

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This is sort of extraordinary to see a ship right in the desert like that.

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That's the so-called Skeleton Coast.

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It's long been a menace to shipping and carcasses of hundreds of vessels

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litter the coast but you also get silting and encroachment

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of the desert, so you sometimes get ships as much as 500 metres inland.

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There are ghost towns as well in Namibia

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that are completely covered in sand, but you can go and stay there.

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Yeah, a bit like Tatooine.

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-Star Wars.

-Star Wars.

-Star Wars reference.

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-ROSS:

-Star Wars.

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OK, Star Wars. OK.

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LAUGHTER

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Moving on.

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LAUGHTER

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What does the world's fussiest eater eat?

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Is the world's fussiest eater not a human being?

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Correct.

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Is it something that is so fussy it just doesn't eat and then dies?

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No, it is very specific.

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It only likes one thing on the menu.

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Is it bees' penises?

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Well, you're not far off the area that we need to be looking to.

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It's so deeply unpleasant,

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there are few parasites who have cornered a market so decisively.

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It's a little leech.

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It rarely sees the light of day because it lives

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up a hippopotamus' bottom.

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That is where it lives.

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It's called the placobdelloides jaegerskioeldi.

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Here's the thing, hippos have incredibly tough skin, right?

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So, if the leech is looking for a blood meal off the hippo,

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it really has to go to the rectal region because that's where

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the blood vessels are, the skin is vascular.

0:16:320:16:34

Where the best restaurants are.

0:16:340:16:35

Seriously, best place to hang out.

0:16:350:16:37

It is literally a pain in the arse, this leech.

0:16:370:16:39

So it's a big, gaping hole, like that, and it's like...

0:16:390:16:42

HE GURGLES

0:16:420:16:43

Much like the sarlacc pit.

0:16:430:16:44

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:16:450:16:47

Here's the thing, has anybody ever seen a hippo being excused?

0:16:500:16:53

No, I've not seen that.

0:16:530:16:54

Well, it's the most extraordinary thing, because they are noted

0:16:540:16:57

for the violence of their bowel movements, OK?

0:16:570:16:59

So, they fire out an absolute explosion of slurry.

0:16:590:17:02

I know how they feel, guys.

0:17:020:17:03

LAUGHTER

0:17:030:17:04

A hippo is incredibly...

0:17:060:17:08

We went to a zoo in Spain and they had a hippo

0:17:080:17:11

and they are incredibly heavy.

0:17:110:17:13

-Yeah.

-They weigh 3,000 kilograms.

0:17:130:17:15

What were you doing at this zoo?

0:17:150:17:17

-What do you mean?

-Come on.

0:17:170:17:19

I wasn't carrying it! It's got a little plaque,

0:17:200:17:23

you can read all about it.

0:17:230:17:24

I thought you were going, "Come on, kids!"

0:17:260:17:29

There's no-one here, we'll get another one!

0:17:290:17:31

They're incredibly heavy but they're incredibly dangerous.

0:17:310:17:33

They weigh the same as 150 people.

0:17:330:17:35

I made that number up.

0:17:350:17:36

Oh, sorry. He was just saying it wasn't 150 people.

0:17:360:17:39

I just made that up. It might be about 50.

0:17:390:17:41

-I was trying to get attention, that was...

-Yes.

0:17:430:17:46

Why are the bowel movements so violent? I'm interested.

0:17:460:17:49

Well, OK. So, it is extraordinary.

0:17:490:17:50

What's amazing is that the leech is able to hold on while...

0:17:500:17:53

It has a fantastic grip.

0:17:550:17:57

It's got a pair of suckers, front and rear,

0:17:570:17:58

which provide incredible anchorage.

0:17:580:18:00

So, while this poo is spraying everywhere...

0:18:000:18:03

And we don't know the reason, but there's a really nice story,

0:18:030:18:06

which I like, which is the San people, which is the wonderful

0:18:060:18:08

-hunter-gatherers of Southern Africa...

-The Sand People, you say?

0:18:080:18:11

-Oh, yes!

-Yeah, you've got to be careful,

0:18:160:18:18

cos they're a lot more aggressive than the Jawas.

0:18:180:18:21

-Yeah.

-You can get them mixed up easily, but those Sand People,

0:18:210:18:24

don't trust them.

0:18:240:18:25

It's like I've moved into a parallel universe.

0:18:250:18:27

The thing about the Sand People is, they always travel in single file.

0:18:280:18:31

Do they?

0:18:310:18:33

-IMITATING ALEC GUINNESS:

-Beware of the Sand People.

0:18:330:18:35

What...?

0:18:360:18:37

Yes, Ross, is it something helpful?

0:18:370:18:39

Yeah, it is. It is.

0:18:390:18:41

I have a slight confession.

0:18:420:18:43

-Yes?

-Right.

0:18:430:18:45

I recently,

0:18:450:18:47

-whilst bored in a hotel room...

-Yeah.

0:18:470:18:50

..er... No!

0:18:500:18:51

If you go online and type in "hippos pooing", there are...

0:18:530:18:59

Sorry, I'm just going to stop you there. Why would you do that?

0:18:590:19:01

Just, I was...

0:19:010:19:03

Start with the dogs.

0:19:030:19:05

Work your way up. Bears.

0:19:050:19:07

In the woods.

0:19:070:19:09

And there are huge amounts of videos of people

0:19:120:19:16

-filming hippos at zoos...

-Yes.

0:19:160:19:17

..who, the tail goes up and they go...

0:19:170:19:20

It's unbelievable.

0:19:210:19:22

People... I don't know how it...it just sort of...

0:19:220:19:25

You've got a leech.

0:19:310:19:33

There's a reason that the hunter-gatherer people

0:19:360:19:39

of South Africa, the San people, which I really, really like...

0:19:390:19:43

So, when the creator assigned each animal its place in nature,

0:19:430:19:45

the hippos really wanted to live in the water,

0:19:450:19:48

but it was feared that they might eat all the fish,

0:19:480:19:50

so they were finally allowed to live in the water on the condition

0:19:500:19:53

that they would eat grass instead of fish and would fling their dung

0:19:530:19:56

so that it could be checked and inspected for fish bones,

0:19:560:19:59

and that is the reason.

0:19:590:20:00

Isn't that sweet?

0:20:000:20:01

Is this scientific research?

0:20:010:20:03

-Yes.

-Yes. It is.

-OK.

0:20:040:20:06

So, the world's fussiest eater won't eat anything but hippo's arse.

0:20:060:20:11

Now, can you describe a bearded tit?

0:20:110:20:15

If anyone says "David Baddiel", I'm leaving.

0:20:150:20:17

Well, once you get past 30, it does happen.

0:20:180:20:21

No woman should be without tweezers.

0:20:280:20:30

No.

0:20:300:20:31

Or the skill of plaiting.

0:20:310:20:32

-That's true. Give the children something to hang onto.

-Exactly.

0:20:330:20:37

Save on a sports bra. Tie them together around the back. Bosh.

0:20:370:20:40

Off.

0:20:400:20:41

I sometimes feel, when I speak to you, Ross,

0:20:430:20:45

that I haven't thought things through.

0:20:450:20:47

All I'm saying is, "You're welcome."

0:20:490:20:51

Thank you.

0:20:510:20:53

There are many, many tits in the woods, aren't' there

0:20:530:20:55

There are, my darling. Yes.

0:20:550:20:56

Is this not one of them?

0:20:560:20:57

No, it's not a tit at all and, indeed, it hasn't got a beard.

0:20:570:21:01

It has, in fact, got a rather fine...

0:21:010:21:03

what I can only describe as a Fu Manchu moustache.

0:21:030:21:06

It's not even closely related to - can I call them "true tits"?

0:21:070:21:10

-You can.

-I'm going to.

0:21:100:21:11

It's more accurately called the bearded reedling.

0:21:110:21:14

It's actually a unique songbird and no other living species seems to be

0:21:140:21:19

particularly closely related.

0:21:190:21:21

I wonder if the person who invented

0:21:210:21:22

-the word for birds that are called tits...

-Yeah.

0:21:220:21:25

..how upset they would be to know that now no-one

0:21:250:21:28

says them without sniggering.

0:21:280:21:30

Unless when he did it, he was like, "tits".

0:21:300:21:32

He's the same bloke that, when he had chickens, he went, "cock".

0:21:350:21:38

Yes!

0:21:390:21:40

Come on!

0:21:400:21:41

I don't know how you boys get there so quickly.

0:21:420:21:44

APPLAUSE

0:21:470:21:48

So much focus on something so undependable. Now...

0:21:520:21:54

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:21:560:21:58

Oh, yes, there's been a regime change.

0:22:020:22:04

Are you saying your tits are undependable?

0:22:110:22:13

Seriously, it is a weird thing, isn't it?

0:22:140:22:16

Boys are constantly fiddling because your bits are not the right place.

0:22:160:22:19

You never see a woman going, "Oh, how's that got up there?"

0:22:190:22:21

You see it all the time.

0:22:220:22:24

My Gran...like that.

0:22:240:22:25

-DAVID:

-Your gran used to do that?

0:22:290:22:31

Was your gran Les Dawson?

0:22:310:22:33

Which naturally brings us to the matter of general ignorance.

0:22:370:22:39

Fingers on buzzers, please.

0:22:390:22:41

So, a nice, easy one to start with.

0:22:410:22:43

Which animal can jump the highest?

0:22:430:22:45

-Yes?

-Flea.

0:22:450:22:46

Oh!

0:22:480:22:49

It's not the flea.

0:22:550:22:56

It's the kangaroo.

0:22:560:22:58

Uh-oh.

0:22:580:22:59

No. The record, in fact, for a red kangaroo is ten feet

0:23:010:23:03

over a pile of timber, so we're looking for something

0:23:030:23:05

that can jump higher than that.

0:23:050:23:08

Yes, Cariad?

0:23:080:23:09

That one we learnt about earlier that has cogs for legs.

0:23:090:23:12

-The planthopper?

-Yeah.

-No.

0:23:120:23:14

Again, no.

0:23:140:23:15

Anybody any more for any more?

0:23:170:23:19

-ROSS:

-A monkey with a jet pack.

0:23:190:23:21

-DAVID:

-Could be any animal with a jet pack, to be honest.

0:23:220:23:25

-ROSS:

-No, because you need to have the straps over the...

0:23:250:23:29

The monkey's got to hold on.

0:23:290:23:30

If you put a jet pack on a horse, it's standing like that.

0:23:310:23:34

It's just going to shoot straight...

0:23:340:23:36

He's prancing.

0:23:380:23:39

-Its side. You could put it on its side.

-That's two jet packs.

0:23:390:23:42

We sometimes do experiments on this show and why that hasn't come up...

0:23:420:23:46

It's not that. It's not that. It's not even on land.

0:23:470:23:50

Dolphin. Flying fish.

0:23:500:23:51

No, it's the shortfin mako shark.

0:23:510:23:54

It can jump 20 feet clear of the water.

0:23:540:23:58

-That's terrifying.

-Isn't that unbelievable?

0:23:580:24:00

Then pluck something out of the sky?

0:24:000:24:01

Yeah. A monkey on a jet pack.

0:24:010:24:03

More than a dolphin, even?

0:24:050:24:07

Yeah, it's one of the fastest swimming fish as well in the world.

0:24:070:24:10

35 kilometres an hour. 22 miles per hour.

0:24:100:24:13

But it is the highest jumper.

0:24:130:24:15

Wasn't flea right, relative to the flea's size, though?

0:24:150:24:18

Ah, but that wasn't the question.

0:24:180:24:19

Which animal can jump the highest?

0:24:190:24:21

Not in relation to its body size.

0:24:210:24:23

-Oh, you're so strict.

-I know.

0:24:230:24:25

-I like it, though.

-I know you do.

0:24:250:24:27

Fleas can jump, vertically, to a height of about seven inches,

0:24:290:24:32

which I suppose, for a flea, is a fantastic amount.

0:24:320:24:34

Frog hoppers, which is also a tiny little bug,

0:24:340:24:36

they can jump four times further than fleas and they're heavier

0:24:360:24:39

as well, so a bit more impressive.

0:24:390:24:41

Now, what do wolves howl at?

0:24:410:24:45

-Not the...

-Oh, no.

0:24:450:24:47

-Yes?

-Women walking past not wearing enough because they're very sexist.

0:24:480:24:51

-I like that and I want it to be correct.

-But it's not.

-It's not.

0:24:520:24:55

That's what always got me about the idea of the wolf whistle,

0:24:550:24:57

cos wolves can't actually whistle.

0:24:570:24:59

So, like, strictly speaking,

0:24:590:25:01

if you're a builder on a building site and a woman walks past,

0:25:010:25:03

you should go...

0:25:030:25:04

But what are they howling at?

0:25:080:25:09

-DAVID:

-Are they howling at other wolves?

0:25:090:25:11

-The moon.

-The moon?

0:25:110:25:12

-No.

-Other wolves.

0:25:120:25:14

It is other wolves. They're very intelligent animals.

0:25:140:25:16

They have very strong family ties and rather complicated

0:25:160:25:18

social relations and they howl in order to communicate.

0:25:180:25:21

It so happens they sometimes howl when the moon is out.

0:25:210:25:23

Would you like to hear a mouse howling at the moon?

0:25:230:25:25

-Yes, please!

-Here we go.

0:25:250:25:27

VERY HIGHPITCHED SQUEAK

0:25:270:25:29

-DAVID:

-Is that your mic feeding back?

0:25:290:25:32

Isn't that the sweetest thing?

0:25:320:25:34

That is brilliant.

0:25:340:25:35

That is the southern grasshopper mouse of southwestern USA and Mexico.

0:25:350:25:40

It's also known as the wolf mouse because it has a reputation

0:25:400:25:42

of howling at the moon.

0:25:420:25:44

I love these little creatures.

0:25:440:25:45

They're extremely aggressive hunters.

0:25:450:25:47

They catch and kill all sorts of prey,

0:25:470:25:49

and they have a resistance to poison.

0:25:490:25:52

They can actually catch and kill and eat

0:25:520:25:54

a scorpion while it's repeatedly stabbing it in the face.

0:25:540:25:57

I think they're astonishing.

0:25:590:26:00

I like little and aggressive.

0:26:000:26:01

I have no trouble with that at all.

0:26:010:26:03

How many earths does the Moon have?

0:26:050:26:07

Yes?

0:26:100:26:11

One.

0:26:120:26:13

So, there's a staple question,

0:26:180:26:19

"How many moons does the Earth have?"

0:26:190:26:21

At various times, you'll get different answers. Two, several, one, more.

0:26:210:26:24

They're all arguable answers, but this is turning the question on its head.

0:26:240:26:27

How many earths does the Moon have?

0:26:270:26:30

Now, if you asked me about the ice planet Hoth...

0:26:300:26:32

We'd be in there. We'd be in there straightaway.

0:26:340:26:37

-DAVID:

-It's more than one, then?

0:26:370:26:38

Well, it depends on what theory you believe in.

0:26:380:26:40

So, the most widely accepted theory of how our moon was formed

0:26:400:26:43

is the big splat, OK. That proposes it was created...

0:26:430:26:47

By a hippo?

0:26:470:26:48

About four and a half billion years ago, there was a collision

0:26:500:26:53

between the Earth and another Mars-sized planet known as Thea.

0:26:530:26:56

And we've always assumed that the thing was a glancing blow, right,

0:26:560:27:00

and Thea would have spun off into space and left a large debris from

0:27:000:27:02

the collision and that is our moon.

0:27:020:27:04

There's a more recent development of this idea,

0:27:040:27:06

which is that the collision was head-on, in which case,

0:27:060:27:09

the Earth is a fusion of two planets and it would mean the moon, in fact,

0:27:090:27:14

has two earths.

0:27:140:27:16

If that is the thing that we believe.

0:27:160:27:18

Which brings us to a nice, natural ending.

0:27:180:27:21

Let's have a look at the scores.

0:27:210:27:23

In last place, with minus 23, it's Alan.

0:27:230:27:26

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:27:260:27:27

In third place, with minus 16, it is David.

0:27:310:27:34

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:27:340:27:35

In second place, with minus five, it's Cariad.

0:27:380:27:41

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:27:410:27:42

And tonight's winner, with minus four, it's Ross.

0:27:450:27:47

CHEERS AND APPLAUSE

0:27:470:27:49

So, it only remains for me to thank Cariad, David,

0:27:580:28:00

Ross and Alan, and, as we seem to have wandered onto the moon,

0:28:000:28:03

I leave you with this tale from the News of the World long ago.

0:28:030:28:07

A Guinness heiress yesterday protested that a busload of

0:28:070:28:10

cheeky airmen mooned at her when she visited the Greenham Common Peace Women.

0:28:100:28:16

"I don't know if they were American, because I only saw their buttocks,"

0:28:160:28:19

said novelist Lady Caroline Lowell, 51.

0:28:190:28:21

Goodnight.

0:28:210:28:22