Stephen Fry asks unanswerable questions about animals which begin with the letter H. With Ruby Wax, Ross Noble, Sean Lock and Alan Davies.
Browse content similar to H Animals. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Oh, how do you do, how do you do, how do you do, how do you do?
Welcome to the QI zoo for a show about animals that start with an H.
Lined up for feeding time, we have the hawk-eyed Sean Lock!
Thank you. Thank you. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
-The hare-footed Ross Noble...
-CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
The heavily-petted Ruby Wax!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And the hung like a horsefly Alan Davies.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Let's have a peep at your horns. Sean goes...
MELODIC TONE PLAYS
Oh, what's that? That's a woman sound.
And Alan goes...
PRETTY TUNE FADES TONELESSLY
Where better to begin than question one?
We start with an opportunity for easy points.
-Two points for each animal you can name that has horns.
-OK, goat, elk,
-Dixon, Prancer, Rudolph...
Cats who dress up as devils on Hallowe'en.
Um... Oxen, did I say that?
Goats. My mother.
-Antelope is fine.
-I already said cat!
-What about a Viking dog?
-There we go.
Cos it would have the horns.
Strictly speaking, I know you'll say the Vikings didn't have horns on.
The point about a horn is that it must be bone. Technically,
a horn is bone, not what a rhino has, which is...?
-Tell that to the rhino.
-I think you'll find it's a horn.
I don't know if you've ever seen a wet rhino,
but it actually just flops down, like that.
Quite often, you'll find, on nature programmes,
when you zoom in on the sound,
you hear them going, "Oh, I'm having a bad horn day!"
-I've got split ends!
-I thought it was like a fingernail.
-Made out of toenail?
That's the same thing as hair.
Your nails and your hair - keratin.
Oh! I had no idea.
If we let it just go, eventually, we would have a horn?
Humans can have horns, funnily enough.
There was a late 18th-century nun who grew a horn.
Her nunnery was invaded by Napoleonic troops.
She grew that horn, specifically to ward off people attacking them?
She went, "Let's not get spears and knives..."?
She was locked in an asylum and banged her head, regularly,
against the wall or table and she started to grow a horn.
-It was a most peculiar thing.
-Brilliant! I'm doing it.
Just carry on.
She eventually had it cut off, cos it was going into her eye.
What a waste! She should've had a Bible with a hook on it
and she could've hung it there and then she'd be peeling potatoes,
reading the Bible.
They should have that on QVC.
"Are you sick of not being able to read the Bible
"whilst doing domestic duties? Try banging your head off a wall.
"It works for nuns. Eight out of ten nuns prefer it."
That drawing doesn't seem to be the most convincing evidence.
That sounds like there's a picture and someone thought, "I won't do a Hitler moustache.
"I'll stick a horn on her!"
But that looks less like a horn, more like she's put half a croissant.
-It's like all that banging...
The Mother Superior should've just said, "Just cut half a croissant."
Little bit of jam and that would've done the job.
Instead, she went, "Dur!" and stabbed herself in the hand.
SEAN: Is an antler a horn?
An antler is different. Why is an antler different?
It's made of wood.
-An antler's different cos it's shed.
-Yes, every year.
-What do they keep in this shed?
-Ah, no! They shed.
-They keep their antlers in a shed?
I know so little!
-So, when they two horned creatures are going at it...
-When they lock horns.
-Does that ever happen with nuns?
One of them goes, "That's mine." "It's not!"
I'd pay... I'd walk a mile on broken glass to see that.
I'd be there. I'd also pay to hunt them as well.
Imagine that, going on a nun hunt!
Some men fantasise about two nuns locking horns. That's sexy.
That animal on the left, I hope it's called the Mr Whippy goat.
Whoever named it missed a real opportunity.
-I doubt it is called the Mr Whippy goat.
-It's more of an antelope than a goat.
The animal on the left, would you say that it's evolved
to have some kind of fear of sound?
Yes! They are big receptors.
Aware that perhaps its predators may sneak up on it.
It is blessed, it is a nervous creature.
The Princess Leia of the moose world.
"We'll need bigger ears, cos they're still sneaking up on us."
Those are all proper horns there, on the antelope,
-on the horned toad and on the... What's the other one?
-I think the buffalo's horns evolved so nobody took it seriously.
-Yes, they look upside-down, or something.
-So sad and pathetic. And then nobody would attack it,
they'd just laugh at it and go, "Oh, you're been lumbered, mate!"
They just evolved living in a field with quite a low gate.
Ah, the horns have caught on the gate again.
How comes, over years of evolution, you've got an animal like that,
with those sorts of horns and no animal has developed quoits?
Are you speaking English?
-Did you just say to him, "Are you speaking English?"
-Yeah, I've never heard it.
-Have you never heard a Geordie accent before?
-Not from something with hair that's never been combed.
I'd just point out, I am part of the show. I'm not on the screen.
OK. I thought that was...
You're sat there, going, "What the hell is that thing?!"
-I figured you just banged your head, constantly.
-I'll come at you like a nun!
I can see where he's a shock to a delicately nurtured creature.
That's one of the worst threats I've ever heard! "I'll come at you like a nun!"
"Would you like a sweet?"
I think I've got a new catchphrase now!
Excellent, well, well done everybody.
Many things that we call horns actually aren't.
What would happen if you threw a hippo in the deep end of your local swimming pool?
It would sink.
-It would sink.
-In the winters, I live in Miami
and they all look like that. But they have lipstick on,
-so nobody would bat an eye.
They walk along the bottom, that's what they do.
That's exactly what they do. What hippos don't do is swim.
But it's not the first thing that would happen.
-You'd get your swimming card revoked, would be the first thing.
Also, Ross, I think there'd be a huge sense of relief
that you'd finally got rid of the hippo,
got through the turnstiles with it, through the changing rooms, and then you think,
"Oh, Christ, at least I've bloody done it!
"Oh, dear, wait till the guys hear about this!"
Probably take the traffic cone off your head.
So, this one would die, cos he's got floaties on.
-And, actually, they need...
-That is a mistake. They can float,
and they can drop to the bottom. What they can't do is swim.
Is do the backstroke.
-Which is why that ident on BBC One, where they swimming in a circle...
-They're doing a sort of doggy paddle, aren't they?
-A lot of EastEnders isn't true either.
How, then, do they get out of a river?
-A small boy in pyjamas dives in and saves them.
-No, they walk along the bottom,
-or bounce and stride...
-Oh, I know!
-They fill their lungs and float to the top.
-No, they just walk to the shallow part.
Sometimes they carry a small thing of helium. They get to the surface,
then just keep going.
-They certainly can't use a ladder!
-No, you're right.
You said that with anger, like, "Bloody hippos!"
Like you've paid a few of them to do some decorating.
And they were just sat round, smoking.
"Can't even use a bloody ladder! I'm sick of it."
The fact is, they just walk up the shallow bit, to get onto land.
How many teeth does a hippo have?
MELODIC TONE PLAYS
A full-grown one has 40. And the reason I know that's a fact
is I got asked a question by my daughter the other day,
"Dad, how many teeth has a hippo got?"
and I went, "Let's go over to this little bit of equipment here..."
Are you sure you didn't go, "Well, I'd tell you, but I just pushed my last one into a swimming pool."
They always have those photos with the massive mouths open,
-and there's two at the top and two at the bottom.
It said that a full-grown hippo has 40, minimum of 40.
-Is that Wikipedia?
It was hippoteeth.com.
Now, the hippo is not afraid of predators sneaking up on it.
No. Smaller ears.
-Tiny little ears, barely needs them.
"What could we hear that would bother us?"
They're very hard to shoot. Why would that be?
-No, it's their...
-Oh, they've got...
They've got night vision goggles. LAUGHTER
-They can go underground? They can fly?
Their hide is unbelievably thick. Their skin weighs a tonne.
It's a quarter of their whole body weight is their hide.
It's unbelievably thick. Most bullets would bounce off, or at least fall down, not penetrate.
Don't give him ideas. He's already pushing them into swimming pools!
He's in the water.
Looking at those light patches round the eyes - has it been on a sun bed?
People often think do they get, somehow, sunburn?
-They get very red.
And it looks like sunburn to us,
but actually, they give off a red oil.
People genuinely used to think they bled through their skin.
He puts his ears over his eyes, like that, look.
What would that be doing for them?
It keeps their skin moisturised.
Right, well, moving on...
Hippos can't swim, but they can float.
If you threw one in the deep end, it would likely allow itself to sink to the bottom,
before walking to the shallow end. What's the point of having a head like a hammer?
Oh, my LORD!
-Oh, my gracious.
-You mean like a shark?
-Yes, like a shark.
-Like a shark.
I know that one.
When they approach it, I imagine most creatures who approach it don't recognise it as another creature,
till they get round the side. Whoops, too late!
Or it's pulling a face, then God said, "If you do that one more time, It's going to stick."
-Their eyes are on the end, aren't they?
-They've got eyes on the end.
It's not fully understood, to be honest,
but it certainly gives it an extraordinary depth perception,
-to have eyes that far apart.
-It's a bottom feeder.
-I like to talk about bottom feeders.
-Do you, Ruby?
-Somebody's got to do it.
They're like hoovers, hoovers of the sea.
They eat flatfish and stingrays that live on the bottom that often camouflage themselves under sand.
How do they detect things that are camouflaged? Not with their eyes.
With their fins. They go like that. LAUGHTER
-They have things called...
-Do they smell everything?
They have ampullae. A lot of sharks do.
-And it smells?
-No, they detect electrical movement,
so sensitively that the electrical movement you or I make by operating our muscles,
they could detect that.
And they detect it in a shifting fish.
It seems that gives them a really impressive...
Rather like a sort of long radar antenna.
-So you'd really mess with their heads if you chucked in a toaster?
Cos the trouble with a hammerhead shark is, it's very hard to do a double take.
Ooh, me neck!
It's a comic nightmare.
I've just realised what's missing from your average shark.
They haven't got any lips.
No, they haven't.
-That's why they look so hideous.
-It does give them a nasty look.
If you gave them collagen, a bit of colour, they'd look quite attractive.
They would indeed.
-Much more sinister if a shark came up to you, before it bit you, it went, "Mwah!"
-What about their teeth,
Sean, as you are an expert on animal teeth?
-Yeah. How many teeth?
-Do you know about shark teeth?
Have you got a computer? I can check it for you.
Sharks' teeth are interesting. They have a row of teeth and then they have teeth behind...
-They come forward, when they lose them.
They lose a tooth and another one comes forward, like a conveyer belt.
-With dolphins, sorry to go off of sharks...
They detect when something's dying.
That's how they figure out to go for it.
I went swimming with one.
They say, "If you have false breasts, don't go in, cos it'll ram you over and over again."
Sometimes kids who are disabled go in,
-and then it nudges them.
-Not with sharks.
-We're on dolphins.
-Oh, sorry, I missed that.
I thought you were putting disabled kids in with sharks!
I was thinking, "What sort of charity is this?!"
I'm going to give them some money!
They have been known to save people, haven't they?
Nudge people to shore who are in trouble?
There are stories going back to the Ancient Greeks, of course. I've swum with dolphins as well.
It is quite an extraordinary experience.
SEAN: It's terrible when they reject you.
All your family and therapists are standing on the beach...
It's freezing cold and there's loads of dolphins,
just pissing off back to the sea.
Then you look round, and you go...
"I suppose we'd better just carry on with the medication, then?"
If they rejected you, Sean...
"I mean, at least we tried."
"Can I have a towel?"
Sean, if they rejected you, it's because you're strong and whole.
They're not interested in fit people.
They're drawn towards the weak and the disadvantaged -
you're clearly totally fit.
I was talking to a marine biologist, who basically said,
"Oh, they're these amazing creatures and you can swim with them.
"Actually, they're a bunch of fighting, rag-tag..."
If you see proper wild dolphins, they've got lumps out of them, bits missing...
I love the idea that people are going, "I want this amazing experience..."
Serene and mystical and lyrical...
When actually, it's just like being chucked in with a bunch of wet skinheads.
-Get in there!
And they bully each other. And they attack porpoises.
How do they tell each other apart?
-In the same way that anyone else would!
That's a good question. How do ants tell...
when they meet a beetle, that it's not an ant? How do they know?
You meet a beetle, go, "All right?"
how does it know? Cos they can't see, can they?
Ants can't see.
-Yes, they can!
-Oh, go back to school, Stephen!
Maybe I'm going on the wrong website!
-I think you might've been!
-It's Jordan's Animal Facts I'm going on.
"Ask Jordan." That's where I get my animal information.
It's not often I find myself in a group of people
thinking I'm the most normal, sane and balanced person there,
but I'm happy to feel that today.
Nobody really knows why hammerheads have such odd heads, but it seems it allows them to detect more food.
Why is it hard to hang on to a hagfish? There's a hagfish.
-It releases mucous.
-To defend itself,
which works in real life.
If anybody ever comes at me, I just sneeze at them,
-and they back off.
-I don't think you could produce the kind of slime
that a hagfish could produce.
You don't know me. I'm very young and fertile.
Have a look at a hagfish releasing slime and tell me you could produce as much.
That is producing that. It can turn a bucket of 20 litres
of water into slime in minutes.
I actually think... I think my baby daughter might be a hagfish.
Cos that's nothing.
To be honest with you, I've got that on my trousers every morning.
It also can tie itself into knots, which is another impressive thing.
It literally does a slipknot or an overhand knot.
-It's quite bizarre.
-Given the choice,
if I had to have special powers, I'd like to be bitten by one of them.
Because excreting mucous would be...
Spider-Man is all very well - do a bit of climbing and that.
Imagine if you were just sat in a chair and someone went, "Do your thing," and you just went...
-That would be fantastic!
-It'd be brilliant.
If somebody tried to get you in a headlock, you'd just go...
-That's what it does.
-Ross, superheroes are meant to help people.
How would you help people with this?
Spider-Man helps people. How would you help people with this mucous?
"There's a child, it's got its head in the railings." Vmfff.
"Oh, no! This..." APPLAUSE
That one. Or...
Yeah, that's a really good comic book story, isn't it?!
This gravy is unnecessarily runny. Vmfff.
Hagfish are hard to hold because they tie themselves in a knot and ooze slime in all directions.
How would you collect the snot from a sneezing humpback?
-Is mucous our word of the day?
-No, just linked.
-They sneeze through their blowhole.
-They don't sneeze,
they can't sneeze, but they breathe out. When you see a humpback whale breathing out,
it is breath. It contains mucous.
-So, who collects it?
-A scientist interested in monitoring
the health of a humpback. Why is it important to see whether humpbacks have got colds or flu?
-Because a sick one, you can push it towards the Japanese.
Then they go, "Oh, we'll have that one and knock off early."
No, because, like birds, like pigs, they get flu that jumps species to man. And if that flu
-jumps to us, which is possible...
-That'd be a nightmare!
-It's a whole new genetic code.
-Well, not just that.
Think at the waiting room at the doctor's!
You'd be squashed against the wall like that, he'd be there...
When you get bird flu, you don't get all small and grow wings.
To get a flu is not the same as to turn into the animal.
No, but what I'm saying is if that humpback whale has got the flu,
-he's taking up all the chairs...
-Oh, I see!
-All the pensioners and me are pressed against the wall.
We'll have to encourage the whales to ring NHS Direct.
The only trouble with that is, NHS Direct pick up the phone
and think it's a fax machine. HE IMPERSONATES A WHALE
"Wrong number again!" and the whale's there, going, "I'm really ill
"and they won't let me come down the doctor's, cos I take up too much room.
"And I keep knocking the posters off the wall, with me barnacle arse."
If I can just guide you away for a moment, towards that snot.
How do you collect it?
With a bag over its head, an ordinary bag from Greggs?
It has to be from Greggs?
-It has to be.
-You put pepper in the hole?
Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse, her name was, a researcher
who was very much a specialist.
She used to have a Petri dish on the end of a stick
and try to get it through the plume, but it was too difficult.
-There was too much turbulent water.
-She swims next to it?
Originally, but what does she do now? She's got a really good system.
-Big condom over the top of the hole?
-A remote-control toy helicopter,
that flies... There.
-There it is, isn't that perfect?
If you're going to be a scientist, specialising in collecting snot...
Has she come up with anything?
-Now that she has the collection.
-Good data on the transmission
of flu between humpback whales...
Which is jolly difficult, cos they travel more than any other - 5,000 miles a year, routinely.
Trying to get away from the remote-control helicopter...
I wouldn't fancy being the bloke who works in her local toy shop either!
"Oh, it's broken again, is it?"
"Yeah, got all mucous in the rotor blades."
So, people who do research into whale flu collect snot using remote-control toy helicopters.
What am I describing here?
Pure, intense, brilliant pain,
like fire-walking over flaming charcoal
-with a three-inch rusty nail in your heel.
SEAN: Is it a bee sting?
There is a man, called Schmidt,
who has devoted his life to creating the Schmidt scale of insect bite or sting pain.
He has been bitten or stung by just about every stinging, biting insect there is.
And he writes rather wine connoisseur descriptions...
Ow! There, look at that. ..of the pain.
It starts at 1.0 and goes up to plus 4.0,
the one we just heard - the bullet ant. It starts with the sweat bee,
which you can see on the left there.
That's light, ephemeral, almost fruity,
a tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.
-Notes of blackberry.
-Yes, exactly. Leather and tobacco!
Is 10.0 like listening to Westlife?
Then 1.8 is the bullhorn acacia ant,
"A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain, someone has fired a staple into your cheek."
-He's done these things to make a comparison?
-I guess he has.
Then there's the bald-faced hornet, rich, hearty, slightly crunchy,
similar to your hand being mashed in a revolving door.
That's a very good thing to document.
Then there's a yellowjacket, "Imagine WC Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue."
Specifically WC Fields?! LAUGHTER
Just go, "Oh, that one, it's more like Jimmy Savile.
"No, no, that's WC Fields."
3.0 - the paper wasp, caustic, burning, distinctly bitter aftertaste,
like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.
That's nasty. Then there's the bullet ant,
which is the one I described,
Pure, intense, brilliant pain... It's called the bullet ant, cos it's like getting shot. There it is.
A nasty piece of work. Anyway, yes.
They fact is entymologist Justin Schmidt has been stung by almost every insect
and describes the bullet ant sting as the most painful on Earth,
which brings us face-to-face with the vicious predator of general ignorance.
Fingers on buzzers, please. I have some points available for you.
All you have to do is to identify every animal in front of you.
-You've not done well to start with.
-Not a hedgehog?
Is one of them a bilby?
There's no bilbies there. And there's no mouse there.
-No, there is no shrew.
Let's have a look again.
Let's see them again.
-Is that a baby mole?
They're all different species of one kind of animal.
No! Not a dog.
-Think of a place where species have evolved...
-Like New Zealand.
But it is an island. It's Madagascar. In Madagascar,
a few mammals, millions of years ago,
were hived off from Africa and the evolved separately.
They filled niches similar to those in Europe
and this particular animal is known as a tenrec
and it is...various species of it.
They fill the same niches as hedgehogs do.
They're not in any way connected or related to hedgehogs.
They have just solved the problems of existence in the same way.
Plants that have done the same. There are things you would swear blind are a cactus,
-but are not in any way a cactus.
So, the tenrec is a Madagascan mammal
that has evolved over millions of years
to create species that look like mice, shrews and hedgehogs.
Now, what are these animals fighting about?
FOGHORN BLARES They're not fighting?
-They're just, er...
- Trying to get... - Trying to do a high five,
but they can't get it together.
They do it in springtime, when they're getting a bit frisky.
It's two males fighting over a girl?
How bad can it get? It doesn't matter now.
-Go for it now.
-What do I know?
A hare's got no chance of having sex with a girl. Has to be another hare, surely?
A girl hare!
Girl is way out of their league.
-They might get a kiss off a girl.
-It's not two males fighting.
It is a female fighting off a male who is too frisky.
She's basically saying she's not up for it.
-Get some pepper spray!
-Maybe that would happen.
When two hares box, it's more than likely that a female is boxing away
an overexcited male she doesn't want to mate with. And finally,
what is rhino horn used for in traditional Chinese medicine?
-What do you want us to say?
-You've finally got wise.
I will let you off the hook. It has never been used as an aphrodisiac.
It is a fallacy.
It's used, supposedly, to keep fevers at bay.
It makes no more sense at keeping fevers at bay
than it does as an aphrodisiac,
because it is, as we discussed earlier, simply hair. It isn't true,
rhino horn is not used as an aphrodisiac in traditional Chinese medicine,
it's most often taken for a fever.
Which brings us all the way back to our horns and, indeed,
to the end of the show. Let's have a look at the scores.
Goodness gracious me.
The dominant male this evening, on seven points, is Ross Noble!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And in second place, with a highly respectable -5,
Sean Lock and Jordan!
Thank you. Thank you. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And really improving now, -6, Alan Davies!
-Thank you. Thank you very much.
-CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
I'm afraid at the very bottom of the food chain,
as thick as two short planktons,
Ruby Wax with -36!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
So, goodnight from Ruby, Sean, Ross and Alan.
I leave you with this piece of wisdom from Homer Simpson -
"Weaselling out of things is important to learn.
"It's what separates us from the animals,
"except the weasel." Thank you and good night.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]