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It's the battle of the SciShow Psych Hosts: Brit Garner and Hank Green! Brit came prepared, but can Hank still win the game for his Patron?

Hosted by: Michael Aranda
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 (00:00) to (02:00)


Michael: Welcome to SciShow Quiz Show, the ultimate battle of brains, where the real winners are two of our Patrons on Patreon.

Hank: Ohhh, so it's not, we're not--it's not that competitive.  Brit is a very competitive person.

Brit: No.  

H: Yes.  It's gonna be okay.  I put a tie on and she was like, I have to put a tie on.  

B: I was the only one without a tie.  It's equality not competition.

H: It looks good.

B: Thanks.

M: Co-opetition.  

H: This is Michael's tie.

M: Hank said it smelled real good.  

H: It does smell good.

M: I'm Michael Aranda, your host.  Today our contestants are Hank Green, who we've managed to wrangle away from working.  How's your novel coming along?  

H: Oh, thank--it's good.  I'm revising, is what they call it.

M: Oh, okay.  Good.  

B: What do you call it?

H: I call it ughhhhhh.  

B: There it is.

M: We've also got Brit Garner, who somehow manages to find time to host SciShow Psych while also getting her PhD.  

B: Don't tell my advisor.

H: Has it not come up yet?

B: It's fine.

H: Okay.  

M: So, these two will be battling for intangible bragging rights and some very tangible prizes, which will actually go to the two Patrons on Patreon that we've selected at random.  

H: Also, we should say that the--if somebody beats me in this game, we kill them.

B: Oh, the blood of the winners goes into the SciShow punch, according to the (?~1:30) and I actually mean that literally.  

M: Well.  Out of context...

H: I'm not really, I'm not really sure how to contextualize that in a way that will make it--

B: You just don't.

H: --make sense.

M: Hank, you will be competing on behalf of Sarah Caskie.

H: Hi, Sarah.

M: And Brit, you're playing for Lukas Grossar.

B: Lukas, we've got this!  

M: So each of you begin with 1,000 SciShow bucks.  Answer a question correctly and that number goes up.  Answer incorrectly, that number goes down.

 (02:00) to (04:00)

B: By how much?

H: Ehhh.

M: Depends.

B: What?

H: I know, right?  This game's bad.  

M: This is what he was talking about when, it's--

H: Have you not watched?

B: I only watch the end to get the numbers to run the graphs.  

H: Oh yeah.

M: The numbers are meaningless.  Everything's meaningless.

B: No.  No, no, no.  

H: Someday there will be no humans left to remember humans were here.

B: But they'll find my Excel spreadsheet for Quiz Show scores and they'll know we were doing okay.  

H: Oh man.  She made a whole spreadsheet of all my scores.  How did I do?  

B: We'll talk.

H: Do I have a pretty good record?  Alright, we'll talk about it (?~2:41)

B: I mean, I wouldn't want your record.

M: So whoever emerges from the last round with the most points wins their Patron some slick gear.  Stefan, show our friends what they're going home with today.

Stefan: Welcome Sarah and Lukas to the prize corner.  We'll be sending off some lovely care packages to our lovely contestants today, and the packages will include signed cards from our final round with our contestants' final guesses and wagers on them, and the contestant with the most points at the end of the show will be taking home the 'I Won SciShow Quiz Show' pin and some secret shhh SciShow swag from  But the contestant who leaves the game today with the least number of points will take home really the only prize of any value, the 'I Lost SciShow Quiz Show' pin.  Good luck to you both and back to you.

M: Are you guys ready?  

H: Sure.

B: Born.

M: Are you pumped?

H: I was pumping.

B: Yeah, but you can't go down with both because, it's fine.  Yeah, that was better.  Why'd you go down when you do it?  You've gotta--you can't do it without going down.  That's funny.  

M: Anyway, round one is all about psych.  

H: Ohh.  --cology?  

B: No.  

H: Like the TV show?

B: Yeah.  

H: Pineapples.

M: They're actually about animal tricksters.  

 (04:00) to (06:00)

H: Ohh.

B: Ooh, I like those.

H: Psyching out.

M: In the jungles of Central and South America, communication is key, especially for small social animals like the endangered pied tamarin monkey.  Little baby tamarins are especially vulnerable since only the alpha female breeds, the whole group takes care of her babies, so all tamarins react when they hear a baby tamarin in distress, but sometimes, what sounds like the cry of a baby monkey is actually something very different.  In 2005, researchers observed something that was definitely not a baby tamarin making the same call near a band of adults.  Was it an adult tamarin from a different troupe, a maned wolf, a margay cat, or a harpy eagle?

B: I'm gonna let you guess wrong first and then I'm gonna get the points afterward.  Go ahead.

H: Oh my God.  This is my least favorite thing ever.  I'm gonna go with the eagle.  I was wrong.

M: That is unfortunately incorrect.  

H: That is the way to do it.

B: I know.  I did the analytics.

H: Okay, do you know the answer?  You're pretty sure.

B: (?~5:08) but I'm pretty sure that margay is like those tinier felids can make sounds because I'm thinking predatory.  The only reason you want to do mimicry would be to probably eat, so--

H: That's why I was thinking the eagles, 'cause eagles eat (?~5:20)

B: Yeah but there's more limited vocal range (?~5:22) so anyway, I would go the kitty.  

H: You're gonna say the cat.  Kitty cat.  Dang it!

M: Obviously.  

H: Dang it.

B: Oh, this feels great.  

H: That's what you would have guessed?

M: Yeah.  

H: Of course.

S: The answer is C, a margay.  Copying another animal to avoid detection or lure prey closer is called aggressive mimicry and lots of animals are known for it.  Acoustic mimicry is somewhat rare, though, and cats might not be the first group that comes to mind when you think of species with vocal range, but based on local reports, we've known for a while that cougars, jaguars, and ocelots do this kind of call copying, and they don't just target monkeys.  Apparently, the cats will also mimic certain rodents and other smaller mammals.  

 (06:00) to (08:00)

Then in 2005, researchers actually observed this firsthand, when they saw a margay calling out like a baby monkey in trouble.  That drew the attention of a nearby troupe of eight pied tamarins, and they started scampering up and down the fig tree they were in to investigate.  Shortly afterward, the monkeys spotted the margay approaching and after a loud warning shriek, they fled, so in this case, the ruse wasn't successful, but the researchers think this tactic is fairly common and it probably works pretty well.  Margays and the other cats in the Amazon definitely do eat monkeys and other mammals, and this might be one way they get close enough to snag 'em.

H: Imma lose.

B: It's fine.

M: Okay, question two, here we go.  In Europe, large alcon blue butterflies can be seen flitting about in the summer, but like many butterfly species, their populations have declined recently due to habitat fragmentation and loss.  This particular species is especially sensitive to such changes because it has a kind of particular diet during its last larval stage.  Do you wanna hit the thing now?

B: Kind of.  I just taught this two weeks ago, because I had my habitat fragmentation lecture.  This was one of the examples.  Go ahead.  

M: Oh.  Well.

H: God dang it!

M: My habitat fragmentation lecture was so long ago, I--I can't even remember it.

H: I'm gonna have to hit the button to try and steal the points, but I'm probably gonna be wrong.

M: So this species is especially sensitive to changes because it has a particular diet during its last larval stage which relies on the presence of another species.  When they're separated from that species, they die because their caterpillars can't get the special food without it.  Of course, that species isn't exactly a willing participant in all of this, so the question is, what biological trick do these caterpillars use to get their special meals?

H: You're just gonna hit the button now?

M: Do they sneak around at night so they can eat honeycombs without the bees noticing, produce chemicals that get ants to regurgitate their food, look like leaves so they can ambush flies, or poop out compounds that lower the defenses of their host plants?

 (08:00) to (10:00)

H: You're gonna let me lose the points?

B: Or maybe get them?

H: What if I get it right?  I'm gonna go with the ants.

M: Well, uh, that is correct.


B: Good work.

H: Ants are--they're great.

B: I'm proud of you.  Ants are gonna kill us all.  Ants will win.

H: And I figure sometimes you'll end up, you know, not having the ants around and then you're in trouble when you're a baby caterpillar.  

B: Yes.  I thought you were going for the plant species that they wind up needing with the fragmentation and migration rates, so that actually wound up being different, to be fair.

H: Okay.  

M: She's fair.  

S: The answer is B.  They produce chemicals that get ants to regurgitate their food for them.  Alcon blue butterflies take deception to a whole other level.  They're what's known as a brood parasite, because they rely on other species to care for their young.  The caterpillars begin their lives like most caterpillars, as small pink grubs feeding on plant parts.  But they don't gain much nutrition from their host plants.  They'll only grow 1-2% in size while they munch on the flowers and seeds of their favorite plants.  So after three molts, they chew a hole in the flower they're eating and glide to the ground on a silk thread where they wait to be adopted by a foraging red ant.  If none come along, they'll starve to death.  The caterpillars produce chemicals on their skin similar to the red ants' larvae, so if a worker from the right species of ant sniffs the caterpillar, it mistakes it for a lost grub and dutifully brings it back to the safety of the nest.  There, the ants treat the caterpillar like royalty.  That's because the caterpillar also vibrates and it does it the same way a queen ant does.  If food is scarce, the ants will even sacrifice their actually babies to feed the caterpillar, so sometimes, if enough caterpillars are adopted by a small colony of ants, the ants won't even raise their own brood.  The caterpillars take advantage of theri generous hosts all winter, kicking back and enjoying the good life from autumn until spring.  Then, they pupate in the nest.  But when they emerge, they no longer look or smell anything like a baby ant, so it's a mad dash for the door before the ants swarm and go in for the kill.

M: The last question in this round.

B: How many rounds are there?

M: Uh, it's some number of them.

H: Two-ish, two, three.

B: I really need you guys to get on board with some kind of empirical system, but (?~10:00)

 (10:00) to (12:00)

M: Alyssa says three.  Three rounds.  Herons, like a lot of other birds, are super smart, which is part of what makes them such great hunters.  For example, they can stand motionless for unbelievable amounts of time, waiting for a fish or frog to make the wrong move, but herons aren't always patient enough to wait for their prey to come within striking distance, and they've developed a special strategy that they can use to catch fish.  How do they do it?  Do they hunt in packs, use bait, camouflage themselves with plants, or farm the fish themselves in rocky fish ponds?  

B: Repeat the second answer.

M: Use bait.  

H: It's like, you find a worm and be like, jingle jangle it over the--

B: You jingle jangle it?

H: In your heron mouth.  You're like a heron anglerfish.

B: Oh boy.  It always comes back to the anglerfish.

H: And then like, the fish goes (?~10:50)

B: Rocky fish ponds.

H: That's what I was gonna go with.

M: Unfortunately, that is incorrect.

B: Got it wrong for ya, then is it the--oh, sorry, oh, you go.

H: Now I get to (?~11:04)  I don't--they must camouflage themselves, but I feel like that's not even that interesting, so I'm gonna go with camouflage themselves.

M: Unfortunately, that's also incorrect.  

H: Ahhh, well.  

M: They use bait!  

B: This is unfair, though, because you can't--okay!

H: Tell me mo--well, we're gonna find out now.  Somebody's gonna tell us all about it.

M: Somebody's gonna tell us all about it.

B: Great.

S: The answer is B, they use bait.  Herons are an incredibly successful group of birds found on all continents except Antarctica.  While they don't swim, they do live near bodies of water and are adept hunters.  Great blue herons will hold their wings over their heads to create a nice shady spot.  Thinking the shade is a protective cover like a log, fish dart into the darkness to hide, only to find out the hard way that they were wrong, but more impressively, several species of heron have figured out how to fish with bait.  Green herons have been observed tossing things into shallow pools to attract hungry fish.  They'll use twigs, bottle caps, and other small objects, basically anything that floats, and herons in parks have been known to harass geese being fed by people so they can steal hunks of bread.

 (12:00) to (14:00)

Some herons will even catch small fish just to let them go so they attract bigger fish.  There's always a bigger fish.  Once they have their bait, the birds will toss it into the water, ready to pounce on the first fish to fall for the trick, and just like we do when we go fishing, if they don't get a nibble the first time, they'll scoop up their bait and cast it out again, over and over, until they get their catch.  It's a pretty effective way to get dinner.

M: On to round two.  This one's also about animals, the human animal.  So we're so awesome we get our own category and we'll begin with one of those things that makes us so awesome.  We humans stand out in a lot of ways, including with our bodies themselves because we have a body part that no other living species has.  

H: Just one?

M: Which of the following is unique to humans?  Having a chin, having heels, having tonsils, or having an appendix?

H: What.

B: Hang on, I'm process of eliminationing real quick.

H: Yeah.  

B: Define chin.  Are you talking about a mandible bone?

H: Yeah, I don't know, like chin?  No, I think--

B: Are the front, like, the--

H: Chin.

M: That is correct.  

H: It's this part.  It's the weird jutty thing.  It's this.

B: The protuberance off the mandible?

H: Yeah, yeah, yeah.  This thing.  Put your hand on your face and feel your skull underneath and think, I'm gonna be dead someday and then it will just be my skeleton.

B: What are you saying?  

H: There it is.

B: That's not fair, though.

H: I can feel my bones.

B: I would say reptiles.  No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.  Reptiles.  Think about a crocodile.  There's definitely that, a protruberance on the mandible.  Nope.  I say no.  

H: Well, let's hear what our expert has to say.

S: The answer is A.  We're the only living species with a chin.  Grab your jaw and poke around at the front bottom part.  That bit of bone that comes forward from under your teeth is what scientists have at various times called the mental protuberance, mental eminence, or mentum osseum, otherwise known as your chin.  In all other animals, it doesn't exist.  

 (14:00) to (16:00)

Not even our closest relatives, the great apes, have chins.  Look at their skulls and you'll see that their teeth mark the front of their jaws.  Even neanderthals didn't have any jaw bone past their teeth.  So why do we have them?  Well, that's proven to be a real chin-stroker.  Researchers have a bunch of different ideas.  Some have suggested that they're uniquely useful for defending against punches.  I'm not kidding.  A 2014 paper in Biological Reviews suggests chins and other facial features that are more prominent in males evolved because men get in a lot more fist fights and chins deflect punches, but other scientists say that while this maybe could explain some of the variation in chins, it doesn't explain why they came to be in the first place.  Chins could have also evolved along with language, because we needed something stronger to contain our tongues.  Those little suckers move all over the place while we're talking, and the authors of a recent review have another suggestion: that the chin isn't an adaptation at all.  It's a spandrel, a trait with no inherent benefit that arose as a side-effect of something else.  They just don't know what that something else is yet.  

M: So chins aren't the only thing that make humans stand out.  We tend to be on the extreme end of a spectrum of a lot of traits, like the way we use language or tools, but the answer to this next question is a trait we used to think was uniquely human until we found out that it isn't.   The more scientists have looked, the more they find it even in invertebrates.  Which of these seemingly human things isn't so human after all: fainting, blushing, written language, that most of us are righties?  

H: I'm gonna go with that last one, that most of us are right-handed.

M: That is correct.

B: Yes, because we see handedness studies, I've seen in, yeah

H: Yeah, in like (?~15:35),  too.  

B: Yeah, exactly, we've seen it in cats and dogs, domestic.  I actually read that study, but I had a question about how one of the other answers, so I didn't answer it yet, because I wanted to make sure it wasn't something else.  

H: I didn't, I just jumped right in.  It's like you were overanalyzing chins.  

B: Well.  Well, well.  

S: We used to think that only humans had innate preferences for one side or another, and then we thought it was just the great apes, but the more scientists have looked, the more they have found single side preferences.  

 (16:00) to (18:00)

Even some invertebrates are handed, or legged, winged?  Whatever.  But we're not just handed as individuals.  70-95% of people are right-handed specifically, and that species level preference does make us a bit weird.  While scientists have found that most individual animals prefer one paw over another, at the population level, the split between righties and lefties in most species is 50/50.  But even that still doesn't make us unique, because we now have evidence for population-level skews in other animals, too.  Most of our closest relatives also tend to be righties, with the exception of orangutans, for some reason.  They're the only great apes that are mostly lefties.  Many species of parrots, red kangaroos, and dogs tend to be lefties, while whales, leatherback sea turtles, and chickens are usually righties like us, and elephants are just as skewed as we are.  Nearly 95
% of them prefer to dig around using their right tusk rather than their left.  As of yet, though, no scientists have found written language in any other species, and we remain the only animals that faint and blush.

M: So that, whatever that was, brings us to our final round, where it's time for everyone to make their bets.  Okay, Brit, you have 1100 points.  Hank, you have 1400 points.  You can wager any, all, or none of them on your answer to the following topic: pee.  We're talking about pee.  

H: Urine.

M: So while you guys decide to wager some points, we're gonna head to commercial break for some commercials.

That was my favorite commercial.  

B: It's just us doing this.  

M: So this round is about pee, which means urine for a treat.  

H: Thanks, dude.  

M: Okay, so in ancient Rome, cleanliness was next to godliness, which basically made urine liquid gold.  The ammonia in pee made it great for cleaning, and it was also used for things like setting clothes dyes, but the Romans aren't the only ones that have found the unique chemical composition of urine to be useful.  

 (18:00) to (20:00)

Throughout history, people have collected the stuff for a wide variety of things that might sound weird to us, but turn out to actually have some science behind it.  Which of the following didn't they use pee for?

B: They being the Romans?

H: No, anyone.  Humans.

M: Topical anesthetic, teeth whitener, hallucinogenic drink, or fertility treatment?  

H: Goodness, I don't know the answer to this.  Do you have an answer?

B: Yeah.  

M: Well, okay.  Show your answers.  

B: To--?

H: We both guessed C.  

M: You're both incorrect.  

H: Ohh.  

M: That's -800 for Hank.

B: And I win because I averaged out all of your wagers and knew that if I--

H: That's how I--yeah.  I don't wager that way.  I don't wager on loss, 'cause everybody always bets points, 'cause they don't matter.

B: Not if they looked at the data.

H: I lost.  

M: So it was topical anesthetic.  

H: Oh, yeah, that was my other one.  'Cause it, yeah, it wouldn't make your--it wouldn't make your pain go away, but I also was like, why would it give you hallucinations?  

B: So I went through the same thing, but why it would vs if it does vs thinking it will.

H: Yeah, mhmm, right.  

B: And that's, right.  (?~19:23)

H: Well, I mean, I guess if you drink enough pee, you'll probably get a hallucination.

B: So that's what--so that's actually what I wrote down.  

H: Tip from SciShow!  Don't drink pee.  

B: Well, I mean, in certain situations.  

H: Alright, Bear Grylls.  

B: I'm just saying.  Don't rule it out.

S: The answer is A, as a topical anesthetic.  Urine has had many bizarre uses over the centuries, but dulling pain isn't one of them.  Like laundering and color brightening, pee and teeth whitening was a Roman thing, but they weren't the ones that started it.  Childrens' pee was said to be the best mouthwash available in ancient China thousands of years before the Romans got into the practice of gargling urine, and according to those who continue to do this, it works, probably for the same reason it's such a great laundry detergent and bleaching agent: ammonia.  

 (20:00) to (22:00)

Ammonia is slightly basic, so it neutralizes most dirt and grime, which are slightly acidic, even if it doesn't smell great.  It was the shamans in Siberia, though, that took mouthfuls of pee to a new level.  Reindeer pee, that is.  In several tribal traditions, reindeer pee was used to induce a trance with the spirits.  That's because the reindeer in question like to consume mushrooms which contain the psychoactive neurotoxin muscimol, a potent hallucinogenic.  The muscimol would get filtered through the reindeer's kidneys, so drinking their urine was safer than eating the mushrooms directly

And urine wasn't just useful in olden times.  The urine of old nuns was used as a fertility treatment until the 1990s, although people didn't drink it straight from the source.  In the 1950s, Bruno Lunenfeld discovered that the urine from menopausal women stimulated the growth and maturation of ovaries in mice while working on his PhD.  He soon developed a method to extract the hormones responsible, gonadotropins, from urine, but he couldn't get pharmaceutical companies to do clinical tests because of the amount of urine needed.  Finally, though, he got help from an unlikely source: the Pope.  The Vatican had a major share in an Italian pharmaceutical company, and the Pope's nephew took a special interest in the project.  So the church ordered 300 old age homes for nuns to provide thousands of gallons of urine for the first clinical trial.  The drugs that followed from that research came from pee for decades.  They were purified from the urine of 100,000 closely monitored donors well into the 1990s, until chemists finally managed to synthesize the key hormones.

B: Anyway, I won.  

H: You did win.

M: So, uh, with--

B: Somebody start my car.

M: With 600 points, Hank Green comes in second place and with 1100, Brit Garner, our SciShow Quiz Show champion.

B: How many points do I have again?  

M: With 1100 points.

B: Can someone tell me how many points I have?  

M: That's 1100 points.

B: How many points did Hank have?

M: 600.  600.

B: Okay, cool.  

M: You had 1100, 600.  That's a difference of 500 points.

H: But I have a weird chin.

 (22:00) to (22:47)

M: Yep, so thanks for joining us for what is potentially the weirdest SciShow Quiz Show we've ever filmed.  If you liked what you saw today for some reason, you can see more of both of these two over at

H: We have a good channel.  It's very fun.

B: It's great.  We're having a great time.

M: And as always, a big thank you to our Patrons on Patreon who make this show possible.  If you wanna join our legion of supporters and get your shot at winning prizes on SciShow Quiz Show, you can head over to