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This week on Nature League, Brit Garner reviews toy animals to see how accurately they stack up against their real life counterparts. Send in your questions to Brit on Twitter @Nature_League or leave them in the comments below!

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Nature League is a Complexly production

Nature League is a weekly edutainment channel that explores life on Earth and asks questions that inspire us to marvel at all things wild. Join host Brit Garner each week to learn about, connect to, and love the amazing living systems on Earth and the mechanics that drive them.
Toy reviews on YouTube are kind of a big deal.

Like, surprisingly big. Look up "toy review" on YouTube and you get pages and pages of videos with thousands or even millions of views, reviewing everything from dogs to ponies to dinosaurs.

Recently we made a video about the great white shark genome in which I demonstrated the sequencing of DNA using Mega Bloks. Lots of you commented about my use of the Mega Bloks and... well... YouTube took notice.

The recommended videos featured next to our video were full of toy reviews. For like a whole day! Gotta love the YouTube algorithm.

So obviously I've decided that from now on, Nature League will be exclusively a toy review channel! Okay, not really, but the experience did make me think that making a video about children's toys would be really fun. I mean, toys are some of the first ways that kids interact with life on Earth and learn about species.

The issue is that toys aren't always necessarily accurate or even within the realm of reality. So how do certain toys stack up when it comes to properly teaching about nature? To answer this question, I'm going to be reviewing children's toys that I have never seen before.

Totally unscripted. This might get weird. [CHEERY INTRO MUSIC] [

MAIA:] Alright Brit, you ready for your first toy? [

BRIT:] Yes. Apparently reviewing toys was not interesting enough, so instead I have to, you know, guess and figure them out blindly first and then give some kind of a critique. Is this the plan? [

MAIA:] Yes. [

BRIT:] Oh, we got tail. Okay, starting... dor - caudal fin... Anal fin, dorsal fin, pectoral fins... Why is this one bent? [QUIETLY LAUGHS] So we have a ver - yeah - vertical...

Alright, we're dealing with a fish. We have a fish. Congratulations, it's a fish.

It's a sharky. Well, it's not a hammerhead. Oooh, it could be a thresher.

Hang on, what's the ratio... What's a blind ratio of this fin to body length? We have this...

So that means the ratio is... almost half... Is this a thresher shark? What happened to its mouth??

They missed! They missed so hard. [LAUGHS] This can't possibly be useful for hydrodynamics while swimming. This almost threw me off and I was like, "Oh, maybe it's a whale." But then, vertical fin.

What are you gonna do? This is a pretty classic shark. Definitely not a thresher shark.

The interesting thing about about shark and about species with toys is that it's like, Generic This Thing, which almost has combinations of all the different kinds of species of that taxon and like pieces from each, but it actually isn't itself anything specific. This is like "shark" with a lowercase "s" and like an asterisk at the end. Oh god, it's only got three gills.

Well, that's misleading. Nope, four! Four.

Missed it. Shoddy construction. Four gills, that seems fair... and pretty realistic.

Except for the mouth. Yeah, the mouth is, the mouth is the most misleading thing, but pretty realistic. But if you had a very small child that had this as an example of, "Here is a shark"...

It could totally be worse. I say that as someone who owns a lot of things that kind of look like sharks. I do want to send it to fin rehab, though.

Next toy! Oh no, that's box. Box and table, okay.

There it is! [LAUGHS] Wings, legs, insect. One... two... three pairs... and antennae. Okay so we have a winged... a flying insect.

Probably something pretty common. I would guess like a bee. We've got...

Oh no, just a fly. A classic fly, though they definitely, they skimped on paint. They we're just like, "We only have black.

This is all we have." There's no delineation of eyes, but that's alright. "Insect," that's a cool word that we've broken down before. Just meaning like "sect," meaning like "dissect" or "to cut up." So they did a really nice job of like showing that the insect here has segmented appendages. Because that's such a big thing like arthropods, they're joints.

They are little segments. This is again "generic fly," lowercase "f" with an asterisk. But it's certainly not to scale of life.

This is probably the most misleading thing because this is almost as large as that shark guy I just had. and there is definitely a problem with scale. When you have a small child that has no idea what something is, you're like, "My god. We're all going to die.

Those sharks don't seem that scary at all." [LAUGHS] Scaling up seems almost more fantastical than scaling down. So like having a shark that's small, it's like, "Well, we couldn't actually bring a shark into the house, so here's a small version." Whereas scaling up is like, you had no reason to scale up. Like you could have just had a fly toy, right? [LAUGHS] Like is that strange?

I guess - Oh, choking hazard! I clearly do not have children. [LAUGHS] So that's why we scale up. Alright well, we've all learned something here today.

This is a good fly. [LAUGHS] It's generic, but it's good. Next toy! Okay, there's a lot of detail.

He's on a pedestal. Oh it spins, does it spin? Does it light up?

I feel like it has a power button. There's some mechanic. I don't even care about the species anymore.

I just want to know what it does. [LAUGHS] Like I'm a child. Alright fine, I'll look at the actual thing. Okay, we have four legs.

We have a quadruped! A floofy textured tail. Reminds me of like a white-tailed deer.

I can't tell if it's hoofed or not. Ungulates, if you will. I think it's a beard, so maybe it's a goat.

And we got horns. Here's a goat confirmation. We've got four legs, a little floofy tail, a beard, horns, and ears.

I don't really know why it's on a pedestal, but perhaps it did something that merited a celebration. Heeeeey... goat! Yeah no, this absolutely should do something.

Did you guys not put batteries in here? [GOAT SCREAMS] [BRIT LAUGHS]. Why does it take that much pressure to make a noise? [GOAT SCREAMS]. It's a screamer.

It's a screamer for sure. Here's my big issue is... Why did this goat... feel like it needed to be on a tree trunk that was cut, to then be pressed to scream?

Cats are notorious for like, "Oh, that sheet of paper in an otherwise like empty room? I'm gonna be on that cuz it's a millimeter taller and I like being up high!" But like goats? I don't know that this is necessarily advantageous for any form of survival to be like, "I'm a prey species and here I am!

On a pedestal!" [LAUGHS] And also... [GOAT SCREAMS] This is a dead goat. I mean structurally, that's like definitely a goat. I'm just very confused as to what its plan is concerning screaming on this tree trunk.

Next toy! That's a dinosaur. This feels like a triceratops.

This feels like a frill, although I guess I should count the horns... Oh, we got three. Oh, and it has a nice little substrate!

Yeah, I think we're dealing - this is a nice little trike here. Now the question is, from which, like, potentially kids movie... Or are we, you know, "Here!

Have a realistic... from a museum!" I don't know! Let's see. That is garish and very blue.

There's a lot going on, it - Did somebody's dog eat this? This is one of... This is someone's house toy. [LAUGHS] Some interesting things going on here.

Color? Misleading, to the best of our knowledge. I don't know that blues come out as AN established triceratops color so far, but hey, paleontology is an evolving field.

There are these raised bumps along the sides, and I don't know what those are. Perhaps this is a pathology? Like disease pathology triceratops?

This is a very sick triceratops. This is the one in Jurassic Park that Alan Grant's like putting his ear to. He's like [INHALES] because it's sick, right?

It was sick with... trike pox? Tri - tricerapox? Dinosaur toys, that's the really fascinating thing about like representing the things we keep learning.

With paleontology, it's constantly changing because we don't just have these species around to look at and to model on, so the toys get updated more slowly than the research does. You know, this idea of, "Will we see feathers? What kind of body positioning would there be?" When we find out how even the sounds that something makes?

The idea that, you know, T. rex doesn't roar anymore. It's a completely different vocalization created. So I feel like this is maybe from a while ago, as far as when this toy was created.

But you know, the amazing thing is despite it being like bright blue and covered in some form of pox, it's still clearly a triceratops. And dinosaurs, like... Toys are as close we kind of get.

I don't think it's very realistic, but I really like it. Also, get vaccinated. Tricerapox.

Next toy! Okay... Some form of a...

Oh God, oh it rotates. Oh, oh no, nothing is real anymore. [LAUGHS] Why does this spin? Okay, I can go ahead and say that for sure, nothing should spin this way.

So... a few misleading things. I think I feel boots. [LAUGHS] This seems to be a species that wears boots. There's like knee joints, so I think it's bipedal, so standing on two legs.

Takes me up to gluteals. Okay, some form of a skirt. That shouldn't be there.

Maybe that's an arm? Two arms... Snout.

Okay, there's a mouth... and a fin. You know, it's in booths like - so pirate. It's a pirate - it's a pirate duck.

I don't - it's got a frill. I don't know. I don't know.

What is this? You know, here's the thing... This is a problem... for a lot of reasons.

The ratio of where this fin is to the head would be like a shark having a fin here, which is a problem. Ooh, I do like the piercings. That's fair.

If you're gonna be a pirate shark, like not really ears to pierce, so I do like this take. The whole bipedal thing... is an issue. As are the arms... for the idea of sharks.

So definitely we're dealing with some mutant form. Does he attack people with a - with fish? What is - what does happening?

Maia, what's happening? The weaponry is almost bothering me more than the shark with arms and legs. [

MAIA:] Do you know what that pirate shark would call himself if he could talk? [

BRIT:] A hammarrrhead shark. [

MAIA:] Nope, he's just - he's just a pirate sharrrk. [

MAIA:] He's not a hammerhead. [

BRIT:] He's also not a shark, Maia! We are suspending disbelief clearly in several different arenas here. [LAUGHS] It bothers me. I am actually really just bothered by this weaponry. Can we get a close-up of this weaponry?

What is the plan? What is the actual plan? [

MAIA:] He's fighting in the war. [

BRIT:] But like using fossils of his ancestors? Because clearly, how large this shark tooth is is nothing related here we're talking like megalodon. So like what, you dug a fossil up, which is gonna be fragile by the way, on account of it being a fossil. And you're gonna use a fossil to hit - It's like if you grab petrified wood to go into battle with.

It's a terrible idea, and I do not understand fundamentally what this is! What is this?? Thanks I hate it.

Next toy. Oh my gosh, those are Shrek ears. Shrek Daaaale!

Shrek Daaaale. Yaaaaaaay! Yaaaaay.

Let me first say, the fact that this even exists in real life is almost too much for me to really deal with. Because it's a thing from the basement of a place I go to and then a thing that hangs on the rear view mirror of my car. And now they exist in real life as things that raise money for wonderful charities.

And that is wild and beautiful. Believability? Like, clearly we have some major problems as far as these legs holding up this large of a head.

But to have the the larger like head and face and the eyes does this nice little anthropomorphic or like cute baby kind of version, which makes this super adorable. Because I mean, look: if this were real dimensions... If a sheep's head ended halfway down its back, they - we'd be in trouble.

There'd be some structural problems. But as it is, it's freaking adorable, so what are we even supposed to do? Definitely let us know in the comments if you're Team Daaaale, Team Glennnn, or Team I Don't Know What's Happening But I Should Maybe Figure It Out And, Um, Join for.

Project for Awesome in 2019. Next toy! Okay, these appear to be some form of webbed feet...

With arms that are also webbed but webbed differently. Oh no, this is Kermit. "Hey there, Kermit the Frog here." It's a Kermit, yeah. You know why?

Because real frogs don't have collars, that's why! It's an immediate tell. Kermit is like a great example of this anthropomorphised like hybrid version of a species.

So a frog is not going to anatomically sit, right? It's also not going to have... well, thumbs! [LAUGHS] Frogs will not have thumbs. I was about to say something very broad, but then I just looked down and saw he definitely has four fingers and thumbs, so that's a problem. [LAUGHS] Thumbs up and all, but definitely severely misleading.

It's this combo of, "Here's a human body," so this idea of like, "I stand on two legs and my head is upright and. I'm looking, you know, and I have arms and I have freaking thumbs." And yet we have the feel of, "It's still a frog," so like no ears and of course the green. And the eyes, like, top of head.

Kind of a beautiful halfway, which I think is why we relate to like something like a Muppet or types of puppets because they are this like lovely little hybrid form. We can see pieces of ourself, but it's still clearly not totally human. Makes it more relatable.

You don't learn much about the species themselves, but that mixture of seeing it with a human it makes it something entirely unique. Do frogs have uvulas? He has a very, very pronounced uvula.

Next toy! Alright... Well, well I see...

Why? Why is it fuzzy on the underneath and not... Oh!

Oh... [LAUGHS] What's his name? Rex is the T. rex. What's the dog's name?

Slinky's name? Slinky Dog? Dog?

Spot? It's... the Slinky dog from Toy Story, and I can't for the life of me remember its name! [LAUGHS]. This is ominous.

Maia, what have you done? [

MAIA:] You're supposed to drag the Slinky toy. [

BRIT:] Oh! [DRAGGING NOISE AGAINST WOOD] [WIRY SLINKY SOUNDS] [DRAGGING NOISE] [PLOPPING SOUND]. I don't know, I don't know. I don't know about any of those mechanics, I - You know what... [LAUGHS] I don't like it! It's unwieldy and noisy.

Dachshunds, they don't sound like this. [WIRY SOUND] If they do, you should probably see a vet. This is like one of those examples of, "Here is a character." So we've, we've suspended some disbelief, and we're seeing a hybrid of a toy that we know, a Slinky, represented within a body shape that we know, which is the dachshund. Artificially selected for us.

So humans have bred that trait to have those - the long body. Yeah, missing a couple dog things. I do like that the dog only has three toes on the back.

Four in the front, no features in the back. No knees which, you know, is not good. This really is the most concerning thing about this toy because I don't understand what you're supposed to... [LAUGHS] Do you hang it? [WIRY SOUNDS INTENSIFY] AH!

No no no, don't hang it. Don't. Shhhh.

That's so loud. I hate it. It's so loud.

Dachshunds bred - their their tails are able to be held up, like to be hunting dogs to go into burrows and get things out for hunters, like on a dachshund just the trait... Those tails are - [PLOPPING SOUND] You know what? This - at a certain point, the ASPCA is gonna get called all over this video.

Like getting him out - but if your Slinky, not as effective for hunting and retrieving. That was totally delightful and interesting and made me think about toys in a way that I have only kind of done tangentially. Like, I've seen toys and thought, "That is a disaster," and I also grew up and as a kid had toys that I loved that were equally, you know, zoology disasters.

But the thing is it's neat to see the way that the things we grow up with are inspired by life on Earth, include things that we see outside and then have them inside. And it's just another way that life inspires us, humans, as we grow. Thanks for joining us on this special toy review episode of Nature League.

If you'd like to keep going on life on Earth adventures with us each week, you can go to, subscribe, and share. [MAIA AS

KERMIT:] Buh bye! Heads up! We are filming a question-and-answer episode of Nature League coming out soon, and that means that I need your questions about life on Earth or anything we do here at Nature League. So instead of a From A to B, I'd like it to be a From you to B.

You can even act like Adrian and see something weird on the internet then ask me all about it. I - [

ADRIAN:] So you're replacing me? [

BRIT:] It - there can be more than one - [

ADRIAN:] No! No, it's cool. I get it. [

BRIT:] - person asking questions at any - [

BRIT:] Really? [

ADRIAN:] No, it's just fine. [

ADRIAN:] That's cool. I didn't even like this gig, this - [MIC RUSTLING SOUND] [

BRIT:] He's always been sensitive. [

ADRIAN:] The exit's this way. So if you have a question, make sure to leave it in the comments below. Or if you see a meme or something else online, you can definitely tweet it at us @Nature_League . Adrian might not be looking forward to it, but I am.