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RAINDROPS ON ROSES AND WHISKERS ON KITTENS: these are a few of Emily's favorite things!


NEW BLOG! http://isnotadinosaur.tumblr.com
Subreddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/thebrainscoop/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thebrainscoop

Producer, Writer, Creator, Host:
Emily Graslie

Producer, Editor, Camera:
Tom McNamara

Theme music:
Michael Aranda

Created By:
Hank Green

Production Assistant:
Katie Kirby

Filmed on Location and Supported by:
The Field Museum in Chicago, IL
(http://www.fieldmuseum.org)

Dedicated volunteer translators, like Evan Liao, Sofía Lazzarino, Seth Bergenholtz, and Martina Šafusová, are a few more of our favorite things!


Emily: 
Hey everybody! Welcome to the Brain Scoop. Today I'm gonna answer some questions about what my favorite things are, because in 'Ask Emily' episodes, you ask me a lot about what my favorites are, and I didn't know. But now I do. <ding!>

Aaron, @familiarwldrnss, asks, "What's your personal Holy Grail of Museum Collection Discoveries?"

When I visited the Paleo-botanical collection, the Collections Manager Ian Glasspool showed me a vial of ash, which happened to be the first-known evidence of a fire ever burning on the planet.

Meaning that 419 million years ago, when photosynthetic bacteria was forming into a kind of fungus, it caught on fire and we have the physical evidence of that event happening!

The idea that we can trace such a significant event back to the physical evidence of its happening opened up my mind to the possibility that we can potentially answer any question conceivable of mankind.

Thundertwig asks, "What are your favorite dinosaurs?" 

Sauropods! Especially Amphicoelias, which was an enormous dinosaur only know from a handful of fossils that were found and described in the 1870s, before being accidentally misplaced. 

If this animal were to have existed, it could have been up to 60 meters, or 200 feet long, which seems a little ridiculous that we wouldn't be able to find more evidence of it, considering it was about the length of 5 and a half school buses put together, end to end. 

Somebody just turned the lights off.

Tobias Vurtsburger, @crimsonwizard, asks, "Do you have a favorite animal power move?"

It's hard to beat insect adaptations, like how the Bombardier Beetle can fire out a cocktail of catalytic compounds in defense against predators. This vaporic acid comes spewing out of its rear end at about 100 degrees Celsius, or 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Take that!

Kimchi-kimi asks,"What was your favorite class in high school?"

I really enjoyed painting class with Mr. Golbranson, because he let me set up an easel in the back of the classroom, and would tell me stories about how after college he lived in a tee-pee in Wyoming with his girlfriend.

He also helped me get a bunch of scholarships to go to school, and had a huge and positive impact on my life, so thanks, Mr. G!

Lecieltumultueux asks, "What are your favorite museums to go to as a visitor or tourist?"

I really enjoyed visiting the International Museum of Surgical Science here in Chicago. In addition to having a rare working iron lung on display,  they also have a 20th-century recreation of an apothecary shop, and surgically removed kidney stones the size of your fist!

Thatbelle asks, "Other than the museum, what's your favorite thing about Chicago so far?"

I could say its access to amazing cultural and scientific institutions, but really it's grocery stores and their diverse selection, and arcade bars where I can attempt to overcome my insatiable desire for pinball. 

Slinkspangspoink asks, "Hello. What is your favorite stage in human evolution?"

That would have to be around 4.4 million years ago, when early hominids stood upright and became bipedal. And whether that was for freeing our arms for food and baby-carrying purposes, wading through marshy bogs, or in order to cross large distances more efficiently, perhaps it was for dancing, or the romantic notion that we wanted to walk hand-in-hand with our brethren. For whatever reason, it was a good thing we did, because now we can do so much more. 

Fosdonut asks, "What is your favorite animal to eat?"

...Bacon. 

Thomas Nguyen asks, "What is your favorite organ in an animal?"

I mean, the uterus as an in-house, developmental baby-making factory is pretty remarkable... 

Normalbiology asks, "What has been your favorite science communication experience?"

Probably the one where I started a Tumblr as a volunteer in a small university zoological collection, and it ending up resulting in a full-time job at a major institution. That was... that was a good one. 

Sophietheadventurer asks, "What do you think is the most amazing thing about the natural world?"

Is that is exists at all! 

Fireeyedgirl asks, "What's your favorite thing about sloths?"

Probably that sloths have unique, symbiotic relationships with certain species of algae that are only found growing in the microcosmic environments of their hosts' fur. 

Awrex asks, "Any favorite invertebrates?"

I mean, you guys are asking me to pick between some pretty major collections here at the Field Museum. 

We've got 3 million pinned beetles, and that doesn't include the other 9 million specimens in the insect division. We've hardly talked with Janet Voight about her work with deep sea octopuses and other invertebrates, and let's not forget the major neglect to discuss Molluscs on this show. 

Seriously. We need more mollusk love on the Brain Scoop. 

Higbeythedemon asks, "Emily, what's your favorite way of preserving or presenting animals?"

Diaphonization! Also known as clearing and staining, it's a process in which a specimen is injected with enzymes that render the organs transparent. Then, it's submerged in a solution of dyes that either adhere to the skeleton or the muscular system, resulting in a see-through animal with a highlighted mobility system!

It is so cool. You got it?



Bam! 



Emily: It still has brains on it.