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Emily Graslie of The Brain Scoop is back again to stump Hank and to tell us about some fascinating new research in the field of rat telepathy (NO JOKE). Then Jessi from Animal Wonders shares Zoe the Red-lored Amazon parrot.

Want more Emily? Check out The Brain Scoop!
Learn more about Zoe!
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H: Hello, and welcome to the Sci Show Talk Show. Where we talk on Sci Show. Today we are joined by our very special guest Emily Graslie of The Brain Scoop. Thank you for joining us.

E: Thank you for having me.

H: Today... you're going to attempt to stump me. And then we're going to talk about some news and then we're gonna visit an animal. Does that sound like a plan?

E: That sounds awesome.

H: Okay. I don't know, I have no idea about any of those things. I don't know what animal, I don't know what you want to talk about, and I don't know what you brought in. So, let's just go.

E: Let's do it.

H: Wh-What, *laughs* did you bring me skulls? 

E: *laughs* Yes I did.

H: Bones?

E: Let's start with this.

H: You brought- She's gonna stump me with bones 'cause I did so well last time.

E: Are you-

H: It's a shoebox.

E: Well, no I taped over the label so even if you knew the binomial nomenclature...

H: I probably do. I'm very, very clever.

E: So-

H: It's a head.

E: It is a head.

H: Ooh

E: You- you want to hold it?

H: Well look at those teeth! That's crazy!

E: Yeah, yeah. That's- that's part of it. If you can get the animal then I'm gonna ask you what you think those teeth are for.

H: Uh. I think that they're for awesome. Hmm. I mean, this is making me- this is- I mean it looks- Well...

E: There you go.

H: There it is together, it fits very well. It has good teeth.

E: MmHmm

H: Good job. It's got nose stuff, it's got a big head. 

E: Do you know what it eats? Do you know where it lives?

H: Um, I- I d-don't, I- I imagine it's a terrestrial mammal.

E: Mmm, kind of.

H: I'm not ev- I've already made a mistake.

E: *laughs*

H: I went with t- It has four legs.

E: Kinda.

H: Kinda?

E: Kinda.

H: How does i- You are always doing this to me and then it turns out that it's like a pig, and then I'm like how does a pig kinda have four legs?

E: *laughs* I mean it does have four legs but I- I don't think it uses them in the way that you think it might use them.

H: Well- How else do you use legs?

E: Well, it's just- when I think of something with four legs I'm thinking like, "doo doo doo doo" *uses fingers to demonstrate* You know something that-

H: Ah. Are you saying that it has four legs but it walks on two?

E: Nooo, kinda- we- more like on three legs.

H: How- What walks on three legs?

E: *laughs* It's just- It's just how the- the motion, how they use them.

H: I mean like, I was- I was thinking like tapir, but it's not a tapir.

E: *agrees*

H: I don't know.

E: Do you want me to tell you or do you want to keep guessing?

H: Give me another hint. Where does it live?

E: Very very cold places.

H: Oh. Oh. Is it a- Is it a marine mammal?

E: Mm-hmm

H: Is is a sea lion?

E: Close, so close!

H: A seal?

E: Yes!

H: It's a seal.

E: It's a very special seal.

H: How does a  seal walk on- Ah, I guess it's two back legs are kind of-

E: Yeah, because it's got the hehehe- Just like that! Yeah.

H: Yeah. I guess it's back legs are sort of like a mermaid thing happened.

E: Yeah.

H: Huh. I would know, yeah. So these are- these are meat ripping teeth then.

E: Well, actually, no. Um-

H: No?

E: This is what is called a crabeater seal. It doesn't eat any crab. I don't know who thought of that name, but it- a- a- they eat no crabs because crabs don't exist a- a- it's from the Antarctic. Crabs don't live in Antarctica. Um, so it's a crabeater seal, it actually is the fastest of all seals on land, it's the fastest pinniped. Um, they can move up to, like, 15 miles an hour. 

H: Running?

E: 25 kilometers, just by, like, flipping around, it's like a back end, um

H: Wow. (laughs)

E: And it has the most specialized teeth of any carnivore in the world. Um, these little ridges on the teeth are called tubercles. And when you put the mandible on it, you saw how well they fit together, and they use it as a sieve, so they can like suck in water from up to like-

H: sort of baleen. 

E: Yeah, exactly. And they'll uh, suck in krill from up to like, you know, a foot away or so and they just expel all the water. And um, they'll do this, they'll feed for about sixteen hours a day. 

H: Wow. 

E: I want teeth like that.

H: Nope.

That was fascinating. So what- do you have something else that you would like to share?  

E: Yes! Exciting, exciting news. Can you tell what I'm thinking? Can you read my mind?  

H: I'm thinking it may have something to do with rat telepathy. 

E: It does.

H: Because you just said that before we started rolling. (laughs)

E: Yeah. So, um, this week some, uh, scientific report was published in a science journal. There's a neuroscientist from Duke University that confirmed rats can communicate through electrode implants in their brains.
So-it's crazy to me, like sci-fi blows my mind.
Um, they had one rat that was in North Carolina and one rat that was in Brazil, and they both gave them brain implants, like electrode brain implants, and they had, one of the rats was the sender and one was the receiver, and they had them go through this series of tests. So the sender rat was in a lit box and the receiver rat all the way, y'know, thousands of miles away, was in a dark box. And they had the first rat solve a series of problems and then as it solved the problems the signal was sent- it was encoded and sent through the internet to the receiver rat that completed the same tasks totally in the dark. Like, visual tests that require them to be able to see. 

H: So the rat in the dark is basically...seeing what the rat in the light is seeing. 

E: Yeah. 

H: And this is- and they're just picking whatever analog signal is coming off the rat and just throwing that back in as it came off. 

E: Yeah, like reading the electronic signals being fired off the brain of the first rat and then kind of jumbling them up and retranslating them into, like, electric signals that the receiver rat could pick up. And just like, you know, push this button on...on a little box and you'll get a water reward or something like that. 

H: That's nuts.

E: Yeah. It's amazing. And so right now.

H: So when-how long is it before they do this to me? And I can like, see what you're dreaming while you're dreaming?

E: I don't know. So they talked about how abstract thoughts like that are a little further off in the future, of course. 

H: Right.

E: Um, but for now they are hoping that they can, for one, make this thing wireless because right now the rats, they have something reading the things from their-

H: A big ole thing on their head?

E: Yeah, from the brain. So they're thinking they want to test this by making it wireless and putting one of the receiver rats in with a bunch of other rats and then still trying to do brain control on it and get it to respond to the first rat's  brain signals. Which is crazy.

H: It's a brave new world. 

E: Yeah. Exactly. 

H: It's freaking me out. 

E: Yeah.

H: Again, another moment in SciShow Talk Show where I feel uncomfortable about the future. 

E: (laughs) A little bit. But, I mean, there are good things-they're thinking about how they can adapt this to humans and everyone's first reaction is, oh my gosh, like a military, brain control or something like that-

H: Right.

E: And y'know, that might happen, but on a brighter note, they're hoping that they can use this, um, for amputee victims with prosthetics to recreate feeling sensations and feelings of touch, which is very positive. 

H: That's cool.

E: ...and a lot less creepy to think about.

H: (laughs) Also, maybe they can just use it to teach me how to do stuff. And I wouldn't have to learn. 

E: Oh, yeah!

H: It means I could kung fu. 

E: That'd be pretty awesome.

H: So now we are going to meet an animal. Jessi from Animal Wonders will be bringing us something, I'm not sure what yet.

Jessi has arrived from Animal Wonders with an animal...that is wonderful. 

Jessi: Good introduction, this is Zoe, and she's a red-lored Amazon parrot.

H: Red-lored? 

J: Red-lored!

H: What do I think? 

J: Wait. Where do you think she comes from?

H: I think she's a pretty bird. I think she probably comes from the Amazon. 

J: She does, yep, the Amazon. All right, she is a red-lored, there's about 20 different species of Amazon parrots, and it's kind of difficult to tell them apart. Mostly it's the very specific coloration patterns on their face, yeah, and sometimes on their shoulders. 

E: What is she saying? She's chirping at us. 

J: She's talking, she is. Yeah. Zoe likes to pretend she's part of the conversation.

H: Oh, so we're just chatting. Okay.

J: Yeah. So we're just talking back and forth. 

H: Yeah, me too.

J: Mhmm. Would you like a seed? Ooh, I dropped it.

H: (whispering) You dropped it. 

J: You wanna wave? Yes, good girl. Uh oh, let's get a new one, huh?

H: Dangit, dangit! (pretending to be Zoe)

J: There you go! 

E: Is her tongue black? 

J: Her tongue is black. And dry.

E: Whoa! That's pretty metal.

(Hank and Jessi laugh)

J: And if you notice, she's actually peeling her sunflower seeds. 

H: Oh, I don't' like that shell on the outside of the sunflower seed...

J: Yeah, she's a little spoiled.

H: Oh wow. Yeah.

J: A little prissy.

H: I don't even do that.

E: Just eat the whole thing.

H: Well, I take the shell off but-

J: No, she takes he shell off and then she also peels the skin.

E: Oh, weird!

J: Yeah. 

H: That is very picky, that's very picky.

J: What else do you want to eat?

H: Do you have-that's amazingly dexterous there-oh.

J: Would you like this peanut?

(Zoe whistles) 

J: Good girl. Look at how she eats it. 

E: Oh my gosh. 

H: Makin' sure there's no shell on this thing 'cause that's annoying.

J: It just came off of that, too. 

E: She's messy.

J: A messy eater, I'm glad you mentioned that. Birds are very messy eaters, and it's kind of important that they're messy eaters, because they live in the jungle, and they're going to be eating all the time, going through the trees. They live in flocks of up to 100.

E: Wow.

J: So they're just going to go through the jungle and just eat as fast as they can at one tree then move on. So they're going to be dropping a lot of things, and a lot of the time it's going to be seeds, whole seeds, or pieces of fruit or something like that, and so they're going to be, um, going through the forest and kind of being gardeners.

H: Yeah, planting seeds. 

E: Can all parrots learn how to communicate, or just, what is the distinction between birds that can vocalize like that?

J: Like, mimic human words?

E: Yeah. 

J: Yeah, uh, mostly it's in the Psittacine family that can do it, so even the little teeny tiny Pacific parrotlets, about this (indicates a few inches) big, can do that. Y'know, it's limited and then the best, y'know, all the way up to the cockatoo and the macaw that are huge. They say the best two speakers are the African Gray parrot and the Yellow Headed Amazon parrot. 

E: Wow. 

J: How about this one. Ready....(gun noise, Zoe falls over)

E: You shot her. 

(All laugh)

J: I like to show off how she uses her- yeah I know (laughs)-(to Zoe) is that funny? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha....

(Hank laughs)

J: I like to use that behavior when we're doing educational presentations to show off her amazing feet. 

H: Mhmm. 

J: Can you see those feet? She has two toes on the front and two toes on the back. Do you know the word for that Emily?

E: Uhhh. Spaced it!

H: Spaced it. 

J: Do you know?

H: I don't know. 

J: Zygodactylous. 

E: Oh, right. 

J: Two toes on the front, two toes on the back, let's try that again,
ready? (Gun noise, Zoe falls over)

H: One foot!

E: Wow. 

J: One foot! Showing off. So they can hang upside down on their own. Grab foods that other birds wouldn't be able to find. 

H: Yeah. 

J: Pretty neat, huh, Zoe?

H: Thank you Zoe, for visiting us here at the SciShow Talk Show, thank you Jessi for bringing her in. 

J: Thanks for having us.

H: Thank you for watching this episode of the SciShow Talk Show.

Thank you to Emily Graslie for joining us, and to Jessi from Animal Wonders, and uh, we hope you enjoyed this as much as we did, and we'll see you next time.