YouTube: https://youtube.com/watch?v=GZfbvDZmQVs
Previous: Misconceptions about the Bible - mental_floss on YouTube (Ep. 20)
Next: Misconceptions about Appliances - mental_floss on YouTube (Ep. 21)

Categories

Statistics

View count:247,421
Likes:4,427
Dislikes:94
Comments:437
Duration:07:14
Uploaded:2015-04-01
Last sync:2019-06-13 00:40
A weekly show where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. This week, the episode you've all been waiting for, John looks at some amazing facts about pigs!

Mental Floss Video on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mf_video

Select Images and Footage provided by Shutterstock: www.shutterstock.com

----
Website: http://www.mentalfloss.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mental_floss
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mentalflossmagazine
Store: http://store.mentalfloss.com/ (enter promo code: "YoutubeFlossers" for 15% off!)
Craig: Hi, I'm Craig and this is mental_floss on YouTube. Around here we talk about pigs sometimes. And when we do, we put money into this piggy bank. And when we fill the piggy bank up, we're going to have a pork chop party.

One of the most common big questions around here is, "Are you going to do a video about pig facts so that you have more opportunities to put money into the piggy bank?" Well to answer your question, no. 

John: April Fools! It's all pigs all the time around here. Did you know that Winston Churchill once said, "I like pigs. Cats look down on you, dogs look up to you, but pigs treat you like an equal." Unless you're an animal farm. Anyway, that's the first of many facts about pigs I'm going to share with you today in this video sponsored by our pork chop party fund.

(mental_floss theme song)

John: So the basic theme of today's video is that pigs have been extraordinarily successful as a species. Like there have been domestic pigs since over 10,000 years ago.

Pigs are technically omnivores, but their diet only consists of about four percent animal and insect matter. The rest is plants. That's how we should all eat, by the way.

Pigs can also be tremendously heroic. Like in 2000, a pig named Pru from Wales rescued her owner who was stuck in a bog. The owner was able to get a rope around the pig and then the pig pulled her out.

Speaking of which, in 1984 a pig named Priscilla saved a boy from drowning in Houston. The boy had swam out too far, but he managed to grab on to Priscilla's leash and she swam him to shore. She probably swam herself to shore, but he was holding on. 

Experts claim that pigs are about as smart as three-year-old humans. They're even considered smarter than dogs. In fact trained pigs are more reliable than dogs when it comes to sniffing out things like mines and explosives and gunpowder. This makes me wonder Mark, why do we have dogs at all? They're just like worse pigs.

Now let's talk about wild pigs, AKA feral pigs. They can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Meredith says that I pronounced Antarctica wrong (there's a c in there), so I'm sorry. Ant-arc-tica!

Anyway, in the U.S. feral pigs cause over $1.5 billion in agricultural damage every year and feral pigs can be found in 47 of the 50 American states. Experts estimate that there are between six and eight million of them in the U.S. 

Speaking of which Denmark has about 13 million pigs. Compare that with their population of humans, around 5.6 million.

More about how smart pigs are: in a study conducted at Penn State, researchers found that pigs were able to learn to play a video game faster than chimpanzees. Dogs were not able to figure out how to play it at all.

Pigs can also use mirrors. In a 2009 study published in the journal Animal Behavior, researchers proved that pigs can use a mirror to find hidden food. It's possible that this shows them as being as self-aware and intelligent as apes and dolphins. 

There are four toes on each of a pig's feet, but they only walk on two of the toes so it looks like they're perpetually tiptoeing.

Anyway putting most of their body weight on the third and fourth toes of their hooves make them what's known as even-toed ungulates. That puts them in the same order as giraffes, deer, and llamas. Man the wall of magic has a lot of even-toed ungulates. There's our giraffe, and we've got our French llama, and Evie is kind of a deer.

There are a lot of Cannabis plants, AKA marijuana, in Bhutan and historically it was used to feed pigs until the country got television in 1999 and learned that it could be used as a drug.

In the United States March 1st is National Pig Day, a holiday that started in 1972 thanks to a pair of sisters who considered pigs to be quote, "One of man's most intellectual and domesticated animals."

In the Bahamas there's a beach that locals call Pig Beach because feral pigs like to lay on the beach. They'll even swim out to incoming boats.

Speaking of which a few pigs know how to surf, including one in Hawaii and one in New Zealand. Because they already know how to swim, it's relatively easy to get them to hop on a board. Although to be fair I also know how to swim and at the end of my three hour surf lesson in which I was guaranteed my money back if I couldn't stand up, I got my money back.

In 2014, the Seal Beach City Council in California voted to remove pigs from the list of non-domesticated animals that were allowed as pets in the community. This was mainly because the 235 pound pig named Bubba who was disturbing neighbors. But people protested the decision, so Bubba was given a permit, making him the only pig allowed in Seal Beach, California.

So hopefully this video is helping you to learn to love pigs, but of course not everyone does. In 2014, a woman got kicked off of a U.S. Airways flight for instance for bringing a 50 to 70 pound pig on to the plane. It began defecating in the aisles because you know, where else was it going to defecate? Those restrooms are tiny. The woman was allowed to have the pig in the first place because it was her emotional support animal. But in the end, it was decided that the needs of the other passengers were also important and it was deemed necessary to get that mental-flossing pig out of that mental-flossing plane.

The reason pigs lay in the mud a lot is because the don't have many sweat glands, so they need other ways to keep cool. So if you're sweating like a pig, you're basically not sweating very much.

Since about 1998, there's been a major problem in the U.S. in which people buy what's known as a mini pig. But the problem is that mini pigs keep growing until they're not mini pigs, they're like 500 pounds. These pigs aren't bred particularly well and there's no way to predict how much they're going to grow. So as much fun as it would be to have a pig as a pet (they're smarter than dogs, they're better at sniffing mines), maybe we do need dogs after all.

In 2014 a study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, in which researchers were able to put genes into pigs that basically allowed them to grow their own pacemakers.

Okay let's move on to some famous pigs. Miss Piggy was originally named Miss Piggy Lee after the singer Peggy Lee.

According to a photographer for Life magazine, Arnold the pig from Green Acres was very well-trained. The guy claimed, "We rented the pig and he came with his handler, and the pig would do anything you wanted the pig to do. The pig was overwhelmingly cooperative." That's a marked departure from a lot of human actors. 

Anyway, as you know from our episode on children's books, Olivia the pig was named after Ian Falconer's niece. But Falconer designed Olivia's appearance based on another girl. Coincidentally, her name was also Olivia. Well that, or he was lying so that people wouldn't compare his niece to a pig.

In one early cartoon, it was revealed that Porky Pig's love interest Petunia was also his sister. 

Why are the villains in Angry Birds pigs? Well because the game was designed in 2009 and the creators were inspired by swine flu.

And after filming the movie Babe, actor James Cromwell became a vegan. Meanwhile the many pigs who collectively played Babe continued to eat meat, but just four percent!

And finally I return to my salon to tell you about the origin of piggy banks. We don't know for sure when they started, but most experts believe it was around the 15th century in Europe. People used to keep spare change in something called a "pygg" container, which meant "clay," but you know, "pygg" sounds like "pig," so the next natural step was containers shaped like pigs.

Thanks for watching mental_floss here on YouTube, which is made with the help of all these nice people who will finally, thanks to this video, maybe get their staff pork chop party. Thanks again for watching and as we say in my hometown, don't forget to be awesome. 

Eh, 20 bucks should cover it

(mental_floss end song)