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Hello, and welcome to QI,
where tonight, I am pleased to say,
we will be enjoying multiple organisms.
Let's meet our life forms.
The wise Nish Kumar.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
The noble Cariad Lloyd.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
The amusing Holly Walsh.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And the single-celled Alan Davies!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Right, let's hear your multiple organisms.
That's me, that's me.
Arrgh! Arrgh! Arrgh!
It's a really disturbing programme!
And Alan goes...
I do, actually!
What animal gets the lion's share of online viewing?
I don't know, but that horse looks like Donald Trump.
We had a cat that used to watch the telly.
He watched the telly, he'd watch two things.
He'd watch football because he'd watch the ball,
so if it went out the picture,
he'd look round the side of the telly.
And the other thing he watched was a documentary about urban foxes,
and he watched the whole programme with his paws up on the back of
the chair, looking at it like this.
And about six months later they repeated it,
and he watched it all again.
And any time a fox went out of the side, he went like that.
Probably birds as well, birds probably watch a lot of TV,
because they're in the room, aren't they?
A cat can leave. A cat can be like,
"I don't want to watch a documentary."
Bird's in the room, he's got to watch it.
What about people who hang their budgie by the window
-so it can see the other birds outside?
Is that not the definition of evil?
Anyway, none of this is what I wanted to talk about!
Is it lions?
No. Surprisingly, there are more dog videos on YouTube
than there are cat videos. People always talk about cat videos.
65.9 million dog videos,
versus 65.3 million cats.
The dogs just got the edge there.
-Why do we think that might be?
-Dogs are better than cats.
Oh, that's the most controversial thing ever said in this studio!
-I'm with you, Cariad.
That's the Brexit of the pet world.
-In England, people would care more about that
than they did about Brexit,
if you start slagging off dogs or cats.
Let's try it. People who like cats, say "cats".
-People who like dogs, say "dogs".
People who like Brexit, say "Brexit"!
People who like people, say "people"!
-So there are more dog videos...
-Because dogs are better.
-No, more people have pet dogs.
-Is that true?
-Because they're better.
-More pet dogs than pet cats.
-Why are dogs better than cats?
-I am a dog person, right,
and I have a dog and the dog is at home
and the dog goes out into my garden.
All my neighbours have cats and they also come and live in my garden.
That is why dogs are better.
They stick to the one garden.
I've got a theory,
I think technically more people have got dogs,
but actually more people think they have cats.
Cos cats live in three or four houses.
I have to say that Google tells a different story than YouTube.
There are 2.2 billion pages about cats,
compared to 1.8 billion about dogs.
Yeah, people going, "Why are cats shit?"
"Why did I get a cat?" "I can't get rid of this cat."
Did a cat slap you when you were a baby?!
No, do you know what,
the reason I don't like cats is I am allergic to them,
and I want to stroke them and I can't,
so what I've done is develop a hatred.
-It worked the same way for men when I was younger.
This is how Brexit...
So why animal videos, why do we watch a lot of animal videos,
what's the reason for it?
Because everything's so depressing, so you're like,
you can't cope, so you think, "Cat... Cat dying."
No, I'm joking!
I am joking.
I see Brexit is happening, fetch me a feline snuff video.
I actually do like them, I do,
it's just I have to hate them because they will kill me,
so it's mutual.
Yeah, but you don't have a fatal cat allergy.
It's very irritating.
So why animal videos?
Is it because we're, like,
programmed as people to love looking at animals?
Well, no, the concept is that we just watch something that's a bit of fun,
and it makes you feel fewer negative emotions. Anxiety, you know, guilt, that kind of thing.
I was working with an editor once,
and he was telling me that they did this experiment where, like,
they wanted to see where people's eyes went on, say, movies.
You know, like, so what people are looking at.
And they had, like, a shot with a topless woman, and obviously, like,
most people watched the topless woman,
and then the only thing that distracted them was when a dog walked in,
and then they all just looked at the dog!
In the, like, Top Trumps of distraction, it goes tits, dog.
And a topless dog is, like...
It's my dream, a topless dog!
Yeah. That's my website.
That's what I'm after.
Well, there are more dog videos online than cat videos,
and even fewer otter videos.
So who wants to see a juggling otter?
-Let's have a look.
-Oh, my God!
-Oh, my God!
-Oh, my God!
That definitely trumps tits and dog.
There we go, back with that one.
Totally nailing all the moves there.
Has anyone checked he's not trapped under there?
He's like, "Help! Let me out!"
Stop it, you're messing my mascara!
That's a juggling otter.
But not everybody loves otters, all right, like we do.
So tell me, what do otter hounds hunt?
I mean, I know what's about to happen.
OK, it is illegal to hunt otters, so when otter hunting was banned,
they retrained them to hunt mink,
so what do otter hounds hunt?
Small boys in caps?
-It's illegal to hunt mink.
-It's illegal to hunt mink.
But do they hunt mink?
Do they, you know, hunt mink?
-Is that, like, a euphemism?
-Yeah, that's like...
That's a backhander, guys.
Is it? Oh, backhander.
Oh, it's a backhander? I thought it was a back entrance.
I thought that was, like... a backhander was, like,
"I'll take some money if you don't mention it."
-Yeah, that's what I mean. Like, "I'll get the mink for you."
-Oh, I thought it was "I've just farted"!
I thought it was, like, a lesbian euphemism.
My whole life in a club, I've never gone...
All right, we've got a backhander in tonight!
Anybody up for some mink hunting?!
Otter hunting was a very, very popular blood sport throughout the Middle Ages and so on...
-There was a
King's Otterer. He had an estate called Otterer's Fee in Aylesbury.
And then it largely died out, because the otter was largely dying out,
and so there was a little bit of a revival in the 20th century until 1978,
and then the otter became a protected species, and then they tried mink,
and now it's rats. In fact,
only rats and rabbits are exempt from the ban on hunting mammals
-What about squirrels?
It's rats and rabbits, that's your limit.
Yeah, but could you squeeze in a squirrel?
When you use the expression "squeeze in a squirrel", what do you mean?
-It's another lesbian euphemism, in the clubs.
-One of the most prized
things for hunters was the otter's baculum.
-Anybody know what the otter's baculum is?
Oh, is it the penis bone?
-It is the penis bone, yes.
-See, something nasty.
Absolutely right. There is one right there...
It's the length of the otter?!
Oh, my God, I'm going to get an erection!
Get it off me!
The rest of that video is the otter struggling under the rocks,
and he goes, "Hold on a second..." Phodum!
Just throwing up a pebble, and then whacking it with its cock!
If you've just tuned in,
that's Alan Davies pretending to be an otter with a troublesome erection.
So...Otter's baculum was much prized.
-You've got one?!
-Well, what I've got, these are earrings,
and this is actually made from a mink's...
Obviously two, there's not one, he doesn't have two.
They're made from mink baculum.
There's some mink out in the world going,
"I hope you're enjoying that earring!
"I hope it's made you happy, that earring."
I don't understand how this works.
So they constantly have a hard-on?
Well, no, what it is... Humans don't have a baculum, I'm told.
Yes, I'd like to beg to differ there.
Do you know why humans don't have it?
-What's the reason given?
Do you want to see them? Thank you.
Not compatible with underpants.
So the mythological reason is that Eve was taken,
not from a rib of Adam, but from his baculum.
But the real reason is that the baculum is needed for what's...
How can I put this politely? Prolonged intromission,
-is what you need it for.
-So do you think Sting's got a baculum?
This thing's the exact same shape as my nose!
There's a good idea for a show - Nish Kumar - Mink Pleasurer.
I'll watch it.
I love otters, I think they're amazing.
The sea otter is extraordinary, it has the densest fur of any mammal.
-Oh, my God.
-They have more hairs per square centimetre
than are on an entire human head,
so the Chinese used to call it "soft gold."
They're fantastically easy to hunt, actually, because they float
in rafts of up to 2,000 individuals holding hands.
And what the mothers do, because the baby can float but can't swim,
they wrap the baby in kelp, almost like a little papoose,
and they put it to one side to make sure that it's OK.
And they make something called otter rubs, which is a slide.
I think we've got some video I can show you of them playing in the snow
and they actually slide down. Look at them.
-Oh, my God!
-And they're just playing.
That's all they're doing sliding down,
apparently just for a laugh.
This is the remake of Cool Runnings.
Otter hounds are now employed as rat catchers.
But speaking of occupations, what's the best job for a beetle?
Drummer, because you'll still be alive.
That's very good.
I am going to give you an extra point.
-Even though it's horribly wrong.
Is it careers advice advisor?
Did you have one of those?
Yeah, they told me to be a horticulturalist.
-You had a nice careers advisor.
Mine's was like, "Sainsbury's is that way, good luck."
Mine told me prison.
Working or serving?
My daughter's a really brilliant photographer
and she was told baggage handler at Gatwick. It was really specific.
So, beetles are employed, where might they be employed?
Dung moving. It must be dung moving.
It isn't, it is a form of job that only a beetle can do.
Is it baggage handling at Gatwick?
What can they do?
They can get under things, they can go through little holes.
Oh, is it anything to do with nuclear power stations?
No, not at all!
They work in museums.
So, skeletons contain a lot of delicate structures,
and the best way to prep them for a museum display
without damaging them is the dermestid beetle.
-And it lives by stripping the flesh off rotten corpses.
It's used by museums all over the world for that purpose.
But before that, how do you think museums did it before
-they worked out that...
-Did they use those little tiny fishes
-that people have...
-To make their feet feel better?
Yeah, no, they just used to boil the skeletons
and scrape the meat off by hand.
The good news about this horrible job is that they only work
on six-month contracts, so...
Which is the life expectancy of a dermestid beetle.
-Right, they die on the job.
-They die on the job.
But speaking of skeletons,
it's time for a round of that evergreen parlour game favourite.
OK, let's have a look at our skeletons,
and who's going to start with number one?
And be specific, please.
Its teeth haven't come through.
You're absolutely right, it's a child,
because you can actually see the adult teeth waiting to...
Oh, no, it's not that kid, is it?!
-No, it's not.
-It's not that child, is it?
-It's not that child, OK?!
It's another child that we don't care about!
That poor kid is a model,
and then his parents might be just flicking through the TV,
and they're like, "Argh!"
This looks like you've spun the world's worst fruit machine!
Yeah, you can see the teeth waiting to come through there,
so the process of the old teeth being pushed out is called exfoliation.
We moved house recently,
and behind the U-bend under the sink we found this tobacco tin full of
-Oh, my God!
-Is that where the tooth fairy puts them?
And I didn't know what we should do with them,
and I felt really bad because they were obviously the people who lived in the house before us,
and it's like a family heirloom, so I asked our neighbour if they had a forwarding address for them,
and they were like, "Yeah, sure". And I...
I took them to the Post Office and I said, "I need to send this."
They were like, "What's in the tin?" I was like, "It's children's teeth."
Anyway, I sent it to them, and I felt really good about myself,
and then I was talking to my other neighbour, and she said,
"That's so weird because they didn't have children."
Oh, my God!
So I just sent a complete stranger a tin of children's teeth!
Right, moving on.
Let's go back to our QI ossuary.
Number two, anybody?
-Is it a vulture?
-No, it's not.
-It is a bird.
-Is it an ostrich?
-You'd think that because of the long neck.
This one is extraordinary,
because it doesn't look as though it has a long neck.
But it has 14 vertebrae, so twice as many as a giraffe, and it is...?
-It's an owl.
So we never think that, because the owl has got so many feathers,
but it is how they're able to rotate their heads
through nearly 360 degrees.
-So they only appear short-necked
because of the feathers.
Also, if you have a look at their eye sockets, they're tubular,
and that's cos the eyes are so enormous
and the tubular is the only way to fit such a large eye into the skull.
-That is an astonishing shot, isn't it?
-It's an awesome tattoo as well.
Let's have a look at number three.
-Is that a bat?
-It is a bat.
Here's something I did not know before,
is that bats' knees face backwards.
-But despite this, some of them are still very good walkers.
They recently discovered that vampire bats can chase their prey on foot,
and we've got some video of a bat walking,
which is not something that you see very often.
-Oh, my God.
-Yeah, really whoa.
It's just, like, terrifying that not only can they fly at you in pitch-black, they can also run!
It's like the worst nightmare.
-Most nocturnal animals are ugly,
and that's why they come out at night.
That's a really offensive thing to say.
-Careful, Alan, you're going to get some children's teeth in the post!
Number four, let's have a quick look.
The horns are the giveaway.
-Is it a goat?
No, smaller. Smaller than a goat.
Yes, those famous small reindeer!
-No, it's called a dik-dik.
-A "dick pic"?
No, not a dick pic!
I'd rather get one of those than a dick pic, to be honest.
Do you know why they're called dik-dik?
-Cos they've got two dicks.
-So good they named it twice.
-Because they've got two what, darling?
No, it's just I thought...
Sorry, the rest of the class want to hear it now.
I was just saying...
It seemed very important that you wanted to interrupt Sandi.
I was just... I was just saying that maybe they have two dicks.
It's the sound they make. It's a sort of warning cry.
The thing I like about them, they are incredibly efficient with water.
They have the driest poo
and the most concentrated urine of any ungulate.
All right. Well, clearly you've never spent a night in Wetherspoon's.
And an extra point for that, because that's true too, so...
Your eyes bigger than your nose, that's quite a thing, isn't it?
I think they're beautiful. They're tiny little things.
-They live in pairs rather than herds.
-Can you buy them?
-Like, can you have them as pets?
-No. You cannot buy one. Well, I...
Don't google dik-dik.com!
Let's look at the next one. Number five.
-Is it a gorilla?
-It's really surprising.
It is not a gorilla.
What's the thing that always gets you, the klaxon, darling?
A blue whale.
It is a whale's fin.
-It looks remarkably like the human hand.
-That is amazing.
-It even has thumb bones, and it's because, of course,
it's a mammal, and all mammals evolved from an animal
with the basic skeletal structure
that includes five protrusions on each hand.
-So it's basically got mittens on.
-It's just a dolphin with oven gloves.
Looking for an oven.
Let's have a look at the final one.
-Is that a camel?
-It is a camel.
It has a straight spine, because the hump is, of course, all fat.
How can you tell it wasn't a horse?
-It didn't look like a horse, so...
-There's no saddle on it.
-A camel's got no hoof.
-HE FAKE GIGGLES
You can use it for anything, anything.
Anything that's slightly... Ooh! I'll sort you out.
As the old saying goes,
you can't always tell an organism from its osseous tissue.
How is that an old saying?!
In what circumstances does an ant equal a cow?
Is it something to do with their bone structure or...?
No, it's to do with counting how many species there are in the world.
How many species do you think there are in the world of everything,
all kinds of animals, how many?
A billion and one! Ha!
Weirdly, you're closer, Nish.
So, we think we know about 8.7 million species.
Well, what they did,
they looked at more than 1,000 different environments
where things live, so you might take a patch of the ocean,
you might take a cow's rumen,
you might take an acre of meadow was one
and they counted all of the total number of species in those areas
and then they put those into an equation -
these are the scaling laws - and they were able to estimate
the total number of organisms in the world.
So that's all the microbes, that's absolutely everything.
So the ant and the cow are exactly equal in this instance.
And they concluded that there are something like 1 trillion species
of organism currently living on the planet
and that means we have only discovered one thousandth
of 1% of the species currently living on Earth.
-Well, that's enough, though, isn't it?
Don't you think that astonishing?
But that's how little we know about what's actually...
But where do they all live?
Like, in that bit under the sea that no-one ever goes to?
Behind your u-bend in a tin.
It's also estimated that 99% of all species
that have ever existed on Earth are no longer with us.
They are extinct.
Which ferocious beast is the world's most successful hunter?
Wait, hold on. What is happening?
Is that Philip Green?
It looks like you've gone to a fancy dress party
dressed as Captain Mainwaring!
It's terrifying. So, most ferocious... Starts with an O.
What ferocious species is the world's most successful hunter?
-Starts with an O.
Because hippos are really dangerous, aren't they?
It starts with an H.
The audience have offered up octopus.
Octopus is not it, either. KLAXON
Not as easy as it looks, is it?!
It is the creature that belongs to the order Odonata,
so it is dragonflies.
-What, they're killer?
..the most successful hunters.
They are thought to have the highest hunting success rate
of any hunting creature on Earth.
-It's between 90 and 95% success rate.
So, if you compare that to other animals - lions, for example,
lions will kill at a rate of about 25%.
Bengal tigers about 5%.
No comfort when one's coming after you, I think.
And the great white shark has a hit rate of about 50%.
And here is the unbelievable thing,
they don't track their prey, they intercept it.
They calculate where the prey is going to be in the future.
So instead of chasing it, like a lion might,
they fly to where it's going to be and catch it there.
So let's have a quick look. So there it is,
it just seems to be minding its own business,
and off it goes to catch its prey.
-Now, let's have another look,
because let's be really clear about where the prey was coming from.
So have a look up in the red box,
and you'll see the prey is coming in, and he's not flying towards it,
he's flying away from it and over to the right, and catches it.
And it's the same thing that humans use
to predict the future when they're catching a ball,
but we don't really know how they're able to do it.
But they have this incredible 360 degree vision
so they can see all around.
They have no blindspot whatsoever
and they're able to pick out a single insect in a swarm
and hunt it and still avoid the other neighbours.
It is almost like ESP that they're doing, this...
How can we get them to control the world?
-It seems like they should be in charge.
Well, the other thing is that I've got one here
and they have four wings and the four wings operate
-independently of each other.
So they can fly backwards, they can fly forwards,
they can fly sideways, they can fly upside down
and they've been shown that they can still hunt
even when they're missing an entire wing. If we could work out...
-All of that and you still have to eat flies.
Anyway, there is a downside to being a dragonfly, I think,
because the mating is very, very odd.
-So the male has...is a dik-dik.
What does that mean, the male is a dik-dik?
-It's got two dicks!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Well done, Nish. So the male has got two sets of sexual organs,
so before inseminating the female,
he sort of has to inseminate himself.
-He transfers sperm...
-Yeah, yeah... I do that as well.
Transfers sperm from his testes to his sperm pouch,
and then to his penis,
and he's still not ready to inseminate, because he then...
He's got a, sort of, shovel-shaped penis,
and he uses it to scrape out any sperm
from other males, before he then...
-ONE PERSON APPLAUDS Yes.
-Who is clapping that?!
-There's a theory that that is why the male penis
is shaped that way, to remove any sperm,
because they are assuming that woman
-probably has had sex with someone else.
-So it's a scraper?
-Yeah, it's a scraper.
-Very useful in the winter,
if your car's frosted over!
That's what it's for!
I could do a wing mirror!
On what other show do you see dragonfly porn? It's rather fun.
So, 300 million years ago,
the dragonfly first appears on the Earth.
-So, to put that into context...
-..humans appear 200,000 years ago, so...
-300 million years?
-So, before dinosaurs.
I mean, this is them obviously having a laugh with dinosaurs,
but they actually were on the planet.
-So the Carboniferous period.
-I mean, they liked the dinosaurs.
They hung out with them,
-but when the end came, they just moved on, you know.
Now, what is a zookeeper's worst nightmare?
-Planet Of The Apes.
-I'm going to give you a point for that, very good.
Is it an out of the blue redundancy?
No. You've mentioned it already.
-Orangutans is the absolute answer.
Why? Are they always filing, sort of, sexual harassment cases?
They are so adept at escape.
-They work cooperatively, they learn very easily,
they're very patient, they're very determined.
-They work out your routines.
-They do. They absolutely do.
"It takes him 32 minutes to go and feed the zebras."
"That is our window, my friend."
But you're right, Alan!
They check out the zookeeper's routine and see if there's a flaw.
And then when he goes, they all put their caps on.
Put the shirt,
three of them stand on top of each other as they're walking out.
But if you accidentally left a tool in an orang-utan's cage,
they won't pick it up straight away.
They'll wait till nobody's watching
and then they'll secrete it about their person
and wait to use it for future use. They are unbelievably clever.
There was a wonderful orangutan called Ken Allen, and in the...
In the 1980s, he was in San Diego Zoo,
he was known as the Hairy Houdini, and he used to get out all the time,
and then he'd stroll around having a look at the other animals.
And he had a fan club called the Orang Gang,
and they had T-shirts and bumper stickers...
He printed them all.
He'd just nip out and get good deals on bumper stickers then come back.
They couldn't work out how he was getting out,
so they started to send in plainclothes zookeepers,
sort of wearing touristy gear and sunglasses
and trying to look casual, but Ken always spotted them.
There were nine major break-outs by Ken and his fellow prisoners,
and according to one local paper,
"crowds cheering the apes on as keepers ran after them."
-There's a goat that does that at London zoo.
They have this kind of double gate thing.
It's quite tricky to get out of, but this goat just goes
and stands by it as if it's allowed out.
So people let it out.
It has an air of authority about it.
-It's all about confidence.
-It's one of the bigger goats.
-Goes and stands by the gate and looks at you.
And they go, "Oh, sorry..."
I think that's the most British thing I've ever heard in my life.
It's like, "Oh, if it's queueing properly,
"it must be allowed out."
It's like people in high-vis jackets.
If you put someone in a high-vis jackets,
they'll just start doing what people say.
Do not give that goat a high-vis jacket!
Quick question - what might an orangutan see in Nicole Kidman?
It's an orangutan called Hsing Hsing in Perth Zoo in Australia.
Is he thinking, "I've seen her in Moulin Rouge!"
-He is attracted to...
-..a lovely redhead orangutan
and he saw a photograph of Nicole Kidman in a magazine.
He ripped it out and thought, "That'll do. I'll, you know..."
I've been doing that for years.
Can't get enough of the Kidman!
Right, moving on.
Where's this guy going with that ox,
and what's he going to do when he gets there?
Is it like an early boom box?
I can tell you, as you can see because he's able to lift it,
that the cow has been hollowed out, and why might...?
Is it before the invention of birthday cakes,
people used to get strippers to jump out of cows?
Yes, it's that.
Not at a Hindu wedding!
I hate to say this, but if someone's inviting a stripper to a wedding,
-Is it to scare off another animal?
-It's quite the reverse. It's to...
-It's to be able to hide. This is Richard Kearton.
He's one of the world's first wildlife photographers.
So before the telephoto lens,
in order to get a close-up, you literally had to get close up.
So if you wanted to take, for example,
a photograph of a birds' nest with eggs in it,
-this is Richard and his brother Cherry Kearton.
Cherry, I know. They went, "Richard, let's have something different -
"Cherry!" Richard and Cherry, pioneers of wildlife photography,
they bought an ox from a butcher.
They got a taxidermist to hollow it out,
and they hid themselves in the ox
with a lens sticking through a hole.
One day, apparently, Richard fainted inside the ox,
and it fell over, and his brother...
That's brilliant! So good!
Cherry turned up an hour later
and took the photo before he got his brother out!
They more or less invented professional nature photography.
Their subjects ranged from anything from flowers in the Yorkshire Dales
to lion hunts in Africa.
And before them,
most nature photographs were stuffed animals
placed in natural surroundings.
But you can see, they abseiled down cliffs,
they had those astonishing fragile box cameras slung to their backs.
-He's hot. Like, I'm not going to...
-Do you think?
Cherry Kearton became the Attenborough of his age,
he moved into wildlife documentaries.
-AS DAVID ATTENBOROUGH:
-Here from inside the ox.
Photographers at the time were very interested
in what they called instantaneous photography.
They wanted to capture moments that had never been seen
by the human eye alone, so they got a mule that was apparently old
and awaiting euthanasia anyway
and they wanted to photograph it while it was exploding.
-This is a true story.
The United States School of Submarine Engineers
strapped 6oz of dynamite to its forehead...
God, leave men alone long enough,
they'll just blow something up, won't they?
They put the shutter of the camera
and the fuse for the dynamite on the same circuit.
It went off simultaneously. It was written up in Scientific American.
What possible thing...?
What, after it blew up, they were like, "Well, turns out
-"if you strap dynamite to a mule's head, it's really blows up."
Great science, everybody!
It was the pilot of Jackass.
To get the best photos of wildlife,
the Kearton brothers had to think inside the ox.
-Terribly pleased with that.
-That was good.
I'm going to give myself a point.
What use is an ostrich in a car factory?
-Are they indestructible?
You can use them as, like, a crash test dummy.
No. No, it's not that. So I'm going to give these out.
-There you go, these are ostrich feathers,
so what might you use them for?
Get yourself one of them, love.
What might you use it for in a car factory?
Are the BBC just trying to cut back on cleaning,
and just having us just dust down the set?
Well, cleaning is the thing, Nish.
It is in those hi-tech, very robotic factories
where they make cars,
ostrich feathers are still the best thing to dust the cars.
-This is the softest I've ever...
-Yes, well, there's the point.
So they have these sort of giant rollers, a bit like a car wash,
made of ostrich feathers.
Female feathers apparently work best.
-Cleaning, innit? Bound to be...
I knew you were going to say that!
This from the man who said he could scrape the ice off a wing mirror
with his cock!
-We're doing that experiment in the next series.
-I offered to try!
So female feathers are the best.
There are lots of grades, whose names are fantastic.
Whites are the best.
Come on, Sandi, I'm sat right here! Jesus!
Just nick that out and make that a ring tone.
"Whites are the best."
There's whites, feminas, spads, blues, blacks, drabs and floss.
All wonderful names, aren't they?
Farming, which began in South Africa in 1838,
allowed the feathers to be taken annually without killing the bird
and they became very important for...
What's the biggest product they were famous for?
-No, hats. Hats, ostrich feathers in hats.
So meat was almost a by-product. And they were traded in the City.
A pound of ostrich feathers during World War I were worth
not much less than a pound of diamonds.
1990s, there was a boom in Britain for farming them for their meat,
and a really strange thing happened.
They kept seeing the birds doing these courtship displays,
which they're famous for, but they weren't laying many eggs.
So they were doing this courtship ritual.
Cariad, you've just made several ostriches very horny.
What they discovered, Nish, was that be in captivity confused them
and they were trying to seduce the farmers and not other birds.
And it turns out it didn't matter
the sex of the farmer or the sex of the bird,
they were not fussed, whoever was in charge, I'm for you.
This is a funny thing that happened to someone I know.
A friend of mine was in Australia and there's lots of wildlife parks
where you can mingle with the kangaroos and the emus.
And they said, "If an emu should come towards you,
"you have the become an emu as well and then they'll back off.
"So you put your arm up and then do that."
-They were messing about.
-And they were absolutely messing about.
And this girl became of interest to an emu
and she started going like this.
"It's still coming for me! What are you doing?"
And no-one could do anything for her cos they were crying with laughter.
And if anything it made her more attractive
and more interesting to the emu, saying, "What is that?"
So what happened at the end of this terrible story?
-She's married to an emu.
-She's been living in the zoo ever since.
The orangutan is going to bust her out in a bit.
You can't beat a good old ostrich feather duster,
if you want a nice clean car.
Now, my little organisms, fingers on buzzers, please,
as we enter the phylum of General Ignorance.
Cats versus birds - who's winning?
-Oh, why do you say that?
Cos there are bought more birds than cats.
In a way, that's correct,
but would you not think that cats were attacking birds in the garden?
Are some birds attacking cats, is that what you're saying?
No, it's that there's no scientific evidence that predation by cats
is having any impact on the bird population of the UK.
If birds are being preyed upon, do they lay more eggs and breed more?
It's just the ones being caught by cats would probably die anyway.
They're underweight or sickly.
They're not catching the good, strong ones.
So it's not really having a big effect on the bird population.
But they kill millions.
They kill 55 million birds,
but it isn't causing the population of the birds to decrease.
In fact, blue tits, which are recorded as the number two thing
that they catch, they've increased their population
by more than a quarter in the last century.
So it doesn't seem to have any great effect.
"You tried to defeat us, but we got stronger!"
The only time cats seem to be a major threat is when there's
a new housing development near a vulnerable population.
They hate new architecture.
-They get so and the about it.
-Drives them mad.
How did all that oestrogen get into our water?
What happened was, I put my hand down on the table,
but I forgot that it was on the buzzer.
-So I pressed the buzzer.
So, I guess what I'm saying is they have two dicks.
Is it cos loads of women take the pill, and then they piss it out,
and it goes back in?
You did two in one go there, you did pill and urine.
-No is the answer.
-Is that not true?
-Cos a lot of people claim that.
-People do think that.
Is it cos Mother Nature's a woman?
No, well, we reckon that the pill is responsible
for about 1% only of the oestrogen found in the water supply,
according to an American study.
90% of the oestrogen entering into the water
is the run-off from livestock manure.
The important thing, although oestrogen is the primary
female sex hormone, of course men have it as well.
Same as women have testosterone.
And in men didn't have oestrogen, what would happen to them?
It's the light, it's the light. Everyone is looking at that picture.
It's the light. It's not what do you think.
It's just the light.
-Yeah, it's just glinting off that freshly ostrich-buffed car.
Why would you have swimming trunks made out of silk?
I think those two women are going,
"If you could just leave us two alone."
So, men have to have oestrogen.
If they don't have oestrogen, what happens to them?
-They become ladies.
-Well, they get a male menopause is the thing.
They start putting on weight and have a diminished libido.
It's like babies when you're breast-feeding them.
In the beginning, little baby girls can have periods
in the first month because they've taken your oestrogen.
-I did not know that.
-Yeah, it's true.
-Is that the first time you've ever had that experience?
Not knowing something.
During World War II,
how did the Allies hope to use oestrogen against the Nazis?
This is a great story, I love this story.
Is it cos it's really hard to say in a German accent?
It's the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services,
the predecessor to the CIA. And they had a plan.
What were they going to do with oestrogen?
Were they going to put oestrogen in their water
cos they thought it would stop them having babies?
-It was one Nazi in particular.
He's the one you've got to watch.
He's the one. I'm going to call it.
He's the one you want to keep your eye on.
They came to the conclusion that on the male/female spectrum,
Hitler was somewhere in the middle.
And they thought, if they could just tip him over the edge,
the Germans would stop following him.
So they were going to get the Fuhrer's gardeners to inject
the vegetables with oestrogen.
He had food tasters for poison,
but obviously oestrogen is totally tasteless and odourless
and nobody knows if it was tried and failed
or what happened to this plot.
Or maybe it was just vetoed because it was ridiculous.
He just got really weepy one mealtime.
"It's mine, and you cooked it for me
"and I really appreciate it so much.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Just ignore them, ignore them."
-That's what it was like. Poor Hitler.
-That's what they...
Poor Hitler. That's the trailer for this episode.
I love the fact that anything he's doing, you're like, yeah,
I bet you do that you, you prick.
Yeah, I bet you'd like to have a picnic on a blanket,
you piece of shit.
I'm trying to work out, it looks like he's carving an onion.
No, I think he's peeling an apple.
Yeah, peeling an apple, like an idiot.
Most of the oestrogen in our water comes from manure
and not women's urine.
Why do cows lie down?
Is it cos they're tired?
Yes, because they can't be arsed to stand any longer.
It's fair play.
So, some people think that they lie down because it's going to rain.
The fact is, cows get up and down 14 or so times a day,
and at some point it may rain, because...
They're a herd animal, so one of them will lie down,
the others will think, "That is a marvellous idea."
"Totally going to do that."
Sometimes they do it cos they're cold, and it keeps their stomachs warm.
-They don't want a dry patch, then?
-I thought that's why they do it.
-They're not that forward-thinking.
Dogs know it's going to rain, don't they?
They can feel something in the air that we can't,
and then they'll start going under the bed.
"The dog's gone under the bed, go and get the washing in."
I don't think they're that forward-thinking, if I'm honest with you.
No? I think you're under-estimating the cow.
I think what we're saying is no cow is a reliable weather forecaster.
If you see cows lying down, it means one thing.
Cows enjoy lying down.
And so the scores.
At the bottom of the taxonomic table tonight with a fabulous -35,
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Just emerging from the primordial soup with -22, it's Holly!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Slowly developing the ability to walk on land, with -6, Nish!
Two dicks, two dicks!
And swinging through the trees like a good 'un,
it's our winner with -5, Cariad!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And tonight's Objectionable Object prize
is this lovely pair of mink penis bone earrings!
There we are, congratulations!
Thank you. Thank you so much.
-Thank you to Holly, Nish, Cariad and Alan.
And we leave you with the words of the epigramist Logan Pearsall Smith,
who wrote in one of his books,
"These pieces of moral prose have been written, dear reader,
"by a large carnivorous mammal,
"belonging to that sub-order of the animal kingdom
"which includes also the orangutan,
"the tusked gorilla, the baboon with his bright blue and scarlet bottom,
"and the gentle chimpanzee."
From all the animals at QI, scarlet-bottomed and otherwise,
until next time, goodbye.