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This week in SciShow News, Hank tells us about some weird science, including a squid that's not a squid, animals that can talk, and new insights into how you can mess up your body much faster and for much longer than you ever thought possible!

**To clarify, the subjects in Todd Anderson's research on fat intake ate two breakfast sandwiches for a total of 900 calories and 50 grams of fat, not one. Sorry for any confusion!**

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Hello, this is Hank Green, and welcome back to SciShow news. There's lots of weird science afoot these days, including a squid that's not a squid, animals that can talk, and new insights into how you can mess up your body much faster - and longer - than you thought. No time to explain! Let's get started.

 Vampire Squid

Now earlier this week I wanted to celebrate Halloween by turning loose some monster science on you but instead, a monster hurricane got in the way; but now that that whole situation is somewhat under control, let me tell you two of my favorite words: vampire and squid. Yes, there is a such thing, known to biologists as Vampyroteuthis Infernalis, literally translated means "the vampire squid from hell", and even though it was discovered about a hundred years ago, until recently, we didn't know very much about it, except that it's hella scary looking.

Neither a true squid, nor a true octopus, nor a true vampire, the vampire squid is a living fossil that has remained essentially unchanged for millions of years. Today it is the only surviving member of it's own phylogenetic order. In addition to eight arms, it has two other long, thin, appendages called filaments. These filaments pretty much guarantee the vampire squid the title as "the most fearsome looking creature in the deep sea", with its blood-red skin and cloak-like webbing between its arms which are lined with sharp spines called cirri.

Now biologists at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have been able to piece together the puzzle of the vampire squid's deep sea life style, particularly its eating habits. Sorry to break it to you but, no, it doesn't feast on the blood of Carpathian virgins and, no, it doesn't sparkle in the sunlight. But, hopefully, this is gross enough for you: the scientists learned that it eats marine snow, which the biologists describe as "a mixture of dead bodies, poop, and snot". Let's make a marine snow man! Never make a marine snowman. No marine snow angels. Never eat yellow marine snow. Anyway, the point is, that unlike true squid and octopi, which eat live prey, the vampire squid gets by on the flaky leftovers of dead animals and waste that float down into the deep sea.

What's more, in the process of learning how these weird things eat, the scientists (Henk-Jan Hoving and Bruce Robinson) also discovered what those giant, slimy filaments are for. Using remote deep sea vehicles they observed the squid casting their filaments around in the water like fishing lines to pick up pieces of marine snow. The squid then retract their filaments and run then between their tentacles, which are coated inside with a layer of mucus. With the food stuck to the mucus the squid then mash the mixture into little balls and eat them, not unlike a toddler eating his own boogers. I really would have hated having the whole Halloween week pass by without talking about vampires and mucus, or eating dead things, so now I feel better. The research was published in "The Proceedings of the Royal Society B" and you can learn more for yourself in the links below.

 Bits:Talking Animals

So, what could be more unholy than a vampire squid? How about animals that talk? If I could travel back in time, I probably wouldn't, because I wouldn't want to mess up the spacetime continuum, but if I did, I would have dropped everything last week to tell you about Noc, the now deceased Beluga whale that scientists said could imitate human speech.

Noc lived at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego, where scientists though that they heard muffled conversations that turned out to be coming from him. In case you haven't heard 'em, here's a sample. Sounds kinda like someone playing a kazoo underwater but, not to be out done, yesterday scientists reported, in the Journal of Current Biology, that an elephant, in a zoo in South Korea, can apparently speak Korean.

Koshik, a 22 year old male Asian elephant at the Everland Zoo has been found to say six words, including hello, good, no, and sit. Like all mammals, including whales, elephants have a larynx, or voice box, but, in order to mimic the movement of human lips, Koshik has to put his trunk into his mouth when he talks. Here he is, saying what the scientists claim is the Korean word for good, while another trainer off-screen says "Hi", or "annoying". I love this elephant. It sounds kind of like Zoidberg speaking Korean.
Biologists say that Koshik doesn't understand the meaning of the words he uses, so he's not really communicating. Much like Noc the whale, he seems to just have picked up the ability to imitate people because he spent his life around humans.

 Data Points:Smoking and Fatty Foods

Now enough about animals hijinks for a minute, I wanna leave you with a couple of data points to remind you, yet again, that stupid behavior is bad for you, and not only that it can mess up the health of the people who don't even exist yet. On the spectrum of stupid behavior, smoking is obviously one of the stupidest things you can do. But, this week, researchers showed that it not only causes serious health problems for the smoker, it also have negative consequences for the smoker's children, and grandchildren. And I'm not talking about secondhand smoke here, in fact, I'm not even talking about smoke.

Scientists at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in California conducted tests on rats in which healthy, pregnant females were exposed to nicotine. They found that all of their offspring were born with decreased lung function; basically, they had asthma. What's more, when those offspring grew up and reproduced, even though they weren't directly exposed to anymore nicotine, their offspring were also born with asthma. So the nicotine appeared to create biological effects that persisted for at least two generations. In effect, using nicotine had created a heritable lung disease.

This is a great example of epigenetics: how environmental factors and behavior can affect genetic expression, and it's one of the most fascinating frontiers of genetic research. In the case of the rats, what the scientists found was that the nicotine had affected a process during the offspring's very early development, called Methylation, in which DNA and other important proteins are chemically altered. How exactly it works isn't very well understood, but Methylation is known to be key to the process of gene regulation, where certain genes are turned on or off early in an organism's life. In this case the nicotine seems to have flipped the switches on in a bunch of the rat's genes that affect lung function, resulting in sad, little, asthmatic rats who had to stay inside and practice the violin while all their friends got to go outside and play football. But, seriously, smoking is stupid. If you need five more reasons to never, ever smoke, I did a whole episode on it right here.

Now here's another thing that you already knew was dumb but you do it anyway, and so do I sometimes: eating fatty foods. Mmm, corn dogs. Foods that are high in saturated and so called trans fats are especially dangerous because those fats can clog your arteries and cause heart disease as you've no doubt heard. But did you know that your arteries start hating you after one drive through breakfast?

The University of Calgary reported this week that a single indulgence of fifty grams of fat can have immediate effects on your blood flow. Doctor Todd Anderson and his colleagues found this out after conducting specialized blood pressure tests on a healthy group of non-smoking adults: once, after they'd had no breakfast, and, again, after they'd eaten a nine hundred calorie meat and cheese breakfast sandwich. Just two hours after eating all the greasy goodness the subject's blood flow in their extremities had dropped by up to 20%. The results were temporary, Dr. Anderson said, but it shows how quickly fat can build up in your blood, and create negative health effects. So you can think about that when Thanksgiving rolls around in a couple of weeks.

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