Series B, Episode 2 - Birds
- Drawing a kiwi, paying particular attention to the nostrils. The most accurate is Alan, who draws the nostrils at the very end of the beak. Officially, you measure a beak/bill from the tip to the nostrils. As a result, the kiwi officially has the shortest beak of all birds.
- David Livingstone could not distinguish between the sound of a lion and an ostrich, claiming the only difference was that ostriches roar by day and lions by night.
- A woodpecker tongue is two-thirds the length of its body. It has sticky salvia, covered with barbs and has an ear on the end of it. The tongue goes around the back of the head when it is not inside the mouth. Woodpeckers beat wood 15 times a second, which is 250 times the force that astronauts are put though. It also has lots of cartilage around the head to protect it. Woodpeckers are very popular on creationist websites because they claim that they are so fit for their purpose that only a designer could have created the species.
- Birds do not like chocolate. It is poisonous, and birds have only 20-30 taste buds, so they could not taste it anyway. A Smartie would kill a small songbird. Chocolate is also poisonous to humans, but the lethal dose is very high (22 pounds). Humans have 9-10,000 taste buds, but new ones grow every five days.
- The largest organ in the human body is skin. On average, it weighs 6lbs and covers 18 square feet. One square inch has 20 feet of blood vessels, 1,300 nerve endings and 100 sweat glands. 50,000 cells are lost every second. A person will get through around 900 skins in a lifetime. (Forfeit: Speak for yourself)
- Sperm can smell, in particular the aroma of lily of the valley.
- Chang and Eng Bunker were the original Siamese twins. They had a stage act, and one time Chang punched a member of the audience, therefore committing assault. However, the judge could not send him to jail because Eng would be falsely imprisoned. On their journey from Siam, they had a fight over taking a bath so they 'had to be separated'. They got married to a pair of sisters and had 21 children between them. Chang later turned to alcohol and died aged 63. When Eng found him dead the following morning, he wrapped himself around him. He died of a 'broken heart' before doctors could separate the two.
- The loudest thing in the ocean is the shrimp layer. The noise is made by bubbles of air bursting when they snap their claws. It travels at 30 feet a second and then pops. It can wake up coastal towns, white out sonar and deafen operators through their earphones. (Forfeit: Blue whale)
- In the UK, you are more likely to be struck by an asteroid than by lightning. A large asteroid strikes the Earth once every million years. The expected death-toll is to be in excess of 1 billion people. The chances of dying of an asteroid are therefore 1 in 6,000,000 in a year. (Forfeit: Struck by lightning)
- Camels originated in America 20 million years ago, but became extinct on the content during the last Ice Age.
- Flamingos are pink because the eat blue-green algae. They only stand on one leg. (Forfeit: Eating shrimps)
- Young, single, female turkeys can give birth without having sex. This is known as "parthenogenesis" - in other words, "the virgin birth", hence why eating them at Christmas is rather appropriate. They are the largest animal to have parthenogenic sex. Correction: Komodo dragons are the largest animals to have parthenogenic sex.
- Friday 8th October 2004
- BBC Four
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Stephen Fry||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|John Mitchinson||Question Writer|
|Piers Fletcher||Question Writer|
|Mark Freeland||Executive Producer|
|Simon London||Executive Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|