Sandi Toksvig looks at multiple organisms, with guests Nish Kumar, Holly Walsh, Cariad Lloyd and Alan Davies.
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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 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?
-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"!
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?
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.
Nish And The Mink.
-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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Let's look at the next one.
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.
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?!
Which ferocious beast is the world's most successful hunter?
Right, 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...
-It starts with an O. What ferocious species is the world's most successful hunter?
Because hippos are really dangerous, aren't they?
It starts with an H.
The audience have offered up octopus.
Octopus is not it, either.
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.
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 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.
There is a downside to being a dragonfly, I think,
because the mating is very, very odd.
-So the male is a dik-dik.
-What does that mean, the male is a dik-dik?
-It's got two dicks!
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 did 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...
-Who is clapping that?!
-"What a bloke!"
-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 as well!
I could do a wing mirror!
Right, moving on.
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."
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.
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".
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...
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.
-Do you think?
-Cherry Kearton became the Attenborough of his age,
he moved into wildlife documentaries.
-AS DAVID ATTENBOROUGH:
-Here from inside the ox.
Now, 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.
-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 worked best.
-Cleaning, innit. Bound to be a woman.
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!
Just nick that out and make that a ring tone.
"Whites are the best."
There's whites, feminas, spads, blues, blacks, drabs and floss.
They're all wonderful names, aren't they?
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.
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? Because a lot of people claim that.
People do think 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.
Now, why do cows lie down?
Is it cos they're tired?
Yes, because they can't be arsed to stand any longer.
It's their break.
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.
-I don't think they're that forward-thinking.
-Like 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,
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And tonight's Objectionable Object prize is this lovely pair of mink penis bone earrings!
There we are, congratulations!
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 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.
Sandi Toksvig looks at multiple organisms. Where else are you going to meet the world's deadliest hunter, a photographer hidden inside an ox and a juggling otter, all in the same room? With guests Nish Kumar, Holly Walsh, Cariad Lloyd and Alan Davies.