Series O, Episode 2 - Organisms
- The animal that gets the lion's share of online viewing is dogs. YouTube has more dog videos (65.9 million) on it than cat videos (65.3 million), mainly because people own more dogs than cats. However, on Google there are 2.2 billion cat pages and 1.8 billion dog pages. The reason people watch animal videos is because we like looking at something fun and you feel fewer negative emotions. (Forfeit: Blue whale)
- Otter hounds hunt rats. While first bred to hunt otters, new laws then banned otter hunting so they were retrained to hunt mink. But then the law was changed again and mink hunting was banned. Otter hunting was popular in the Middle Ages, and the king would have his own otterer, who had his own estate in Aylesbury called "Otterer's fee". The hunt died out when otter populations feel, but then it had a revival in the 20th century, until otters became protected and a ban on hunting came into force in 1978. Then mink hunting was banned, so the hounds hunt rats. One of the most prized items to be hunted from otters was their baculum, which is the penis bone. Sandi has on her a pair of earrings made out of mink bacula. (Forfeit: Otters; Mink)
- The best job for a beetle is eating flesh off skeletons. Museums use dermestide beetles to eat the flesh, preserving the bones perfectly. These beetles only live for six months.
- The panel play a game of: "Name That Skeleton". They are given pictures of skeletons and are asked what they are the skeletons of.
- XL: The circumstances in which an ant equals a cow is when you take into account the total number of organisms on Earth. We think we know of about 8.7 million species of organism, but scientists then examined over 1,000 different environments where things live, and counted the total number of species in those areas. They put these figures into an equation, from which they were able to estimate the total number of organisms in the world. In this equation, ants and cows are exactly equal. The result was there are around 1 trillion species of organism currently living on Earth. Thus, we have discovered only one thousandth of 1% of all the species on the planet. It is also estimated that 99% of all species to have ever existed on Earth are now extinct.
- The beast that is the world's most successful hunter is the dragonfly, which come from the order "Odonata". Scientists believe their hunting success is between 90-95%. Dragonflies do not track their prey, but instead intercept it by calculating where the prey is going to be. Male dragonflies have two penises and before they inseminate a female they have to inseminate themselves. The male transfers sperm from his testes to his pouch, and then into his shovel-shaped penis, and scrapes out any sperm from other males out of the female, (Forfeit: Orangutan; Otter; Ostrich; Octopus)
- A zookeeper's worst nightmare is orangutans, because they have a habit of escaping. They learn very easily, are patient and determined, and check out the zookeeper's routine to see if there is a flaw. One orangutan, Ken Allen, escaped repeatedly from San Diego Zoo in the 1980s, and was nicknamed "The Hairy Houdini". Ken would escape all the time and wonder around the zoo, looking at the other animals. He had a fan club called "The Orang Gang" which made T-shirts and bumper stickers devoted to him. The zoo could not figure out how Ken was escaping, so they sent in plain clothes zookeepers to spy on him, but Ken was always able to spot them. Ken made nine major breakouts with his fellow inmates. One local paper reported of, "crowds cheering the apes on as keepers ran after them."
- XL: An orangutan may will see something they like in Nicole Kidman. Hsing Hsing, an orangutan in Perth Zoo, Australia, is attracted to red-haired orangutans. He saw a picture of the red-haired Kidman in a magazine, and took the picture thinking she was attractive.
- The panel are shown a photo of a man holding what looks like an entire dead ox on his shoulder and are asked where he is going, and what he is going to do when he gets there. The man in question is Richard Kearton, the world's first wildlife photographer, and the ox is a disguise to allow him to get up close to photograph oxen. He worked with his brother Cherry, and together they purchased an ox from a butcher, got a taxidermist to hollow it out, and hid themselves inside it, in a field of ox with their camera lens sticking through a hole. One day during a shoot, Richard fainted inside the ox and the ox fell over. Cherry turned up an hour later and took a photo of the ox before freeing Richard. Before the Keartons, most nature photos were of stuffed animals place in natural surroundings.
- Ostriches are useful in car factories because their feathers are the best things to dust with. They use devices akin to machine car washes, but instead using ostrich feathers, to clean the cars. Female ostrich feathers are considered the best.
- XL: Between cats and birds, it is the birds who are winning. There is no scientific evidence that predation by cats is having any impact on the UK's bird population. The birds caught by cats are probably dying anyway. Cats kill 55 million birds per year, but blue tits, which are recorded as the No. 2 thing cats catch have increased in population by more than a quarter in the last century. The only time cats are a major threat is when there is a new housing development that is near a vulnerable population.
- The reason there is so much oestrogen in water because of the run-off from livestock manure. This makes up 90% of the oestrogen in water supplies. According to an American study, the pill is responsible for just 1%. (Forfeit: The pill; Urine)
- XL: During World War II the Allies planned to use oestrogen against the Nazis by giving some to Hitler. The Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner to the CIA, concluded that on the male/female spectrum, Hitler was somewhere in the middle, and that if they could push him over the edge the Germans would stop following him. They planned to get Hitler's gardeners to inject his vegetables with oestrogen. Nobody knows what happened with this plot.
- Cows lie down because they are tired. Cows get up and down about 14 times a day, so the idea they lie down because it is going to rain is nonsense.
Objectionable Object Prize
- Cariad wins the pair of mink bacula earrings.
- Friday 27th October 2017
- BBC Two
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Sandi Toksvig||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|James Harkin||Script Editor|
|Mat Coward||Question Writer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|
|John Lloyd (as John Lloyd CBE)||Series Producer|
|Kalpna Patel-Knight||Executive Producer|