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A couple years ago, when Emily Graslie was leaving Missoula to go work at the Chicago Field Museum, she gave me one last tour of the University of Montana's Zoological Museum. I never edited that footage...until now.

 (00:00) to (02:00)

Hank: So, for those of you who don't know, The Brain Scoop is a show about a young curator of museums and natural history things.

Emily: Yeah.

Hank: And taxidermists and--

Emily: Yeah.

Hank: What else do you do?

Emily: Comparative anatomy.  I do lots of comparative anatomy with forensics labs.

Hank: And The Brain Scoop has been going strong for like, five or six months now, and now we're going to partner with the Chicago Field Museum.

Emily: They have over 25 million artifacts in their collection.

Hank: How many do you have here?

Emily: 24,000.  

Hank: So that's a lot of extra zeroes for you.

Emily: Yeah.

Hank: How do you feel about leaving this place?

Emily: That's a different subject.  I'm pretty sad about that part of it, because I started here.  Everything started here.

Hank: There are penguins in this?

Emily: Yeah, there are.  

Hank: You're showing me one last thing.  That's nice.  That's a huge cabinet door thing!

Emily: Yeah!  They had to put this cabinet in here, they had to haul it in using like, cranes and stuff, before the building was finished.  Yeah, the only place in Montana you can see an Emperor Penguin.  

Hank: Woah!   Hi, buddy.  

Emily: Yeah.  Yeah.

Hank: Hi, I'm sorry you're dead.

Emily: You smell kinda bad but--this was like, the moment, like, when I came in here and had a tour for the first time, and he's like, oh, so you just wanna, you can look at whatever, and I opened this, and I was like, is this--is this a penguin from the Antarctic?  I'm in Missoula, Montana, and I'm--I'm touching an Emperor Penguin.  

Hank: It's head is as big as its body.

Emily: Yeah.

Hank: Pelicans are so weird.  

Emily: Albatross.

Hank: Oh my--that's huge!  I was like, what is that giant seagull?  Whoa, there's a whole swan.  

Emily: There's a baby goose

Hank: Oh, a baby goose!

Emily: We could film a whole other tour episode.

Hank: We could. You could show me more.

Emily: Ah. The thing I like about moles is that, you can see really well on this one, that their fur doesn't have a growth pattern at all.

Hank: Ah, yeah.

Emily: So, it doesn't really have--

Hank: Just clumps.

Emily: Yeah, so they can go forward and backward and it doesn't irritate their, their skin. This is the one I wanted to show you. This guy holds a special place in my heart.

Hank: Is that some kind of aquatic mammal?

Emily: It is! It's a Russian Desman mole, and they have this tail kind of like a muskrat.

Hank: A paddle tail.

 (02:00) to (04:00)

Emily: And, they swim around, they live in these canals. These guys are pretty rare and when we got one, back in the sixties we were one of four museums in the world to have one of these in their collection.

Look at the other moles! He's like, uh I am the king among moles.

Hank: I bet if you really tried to answer that question you'd have a really hard time. What animal would you be in your next life?

Emily: It's like, I don't it's like what keeps me up at night I don't know like wolverine maybe, but pangolin. But then, then there's all the birds and I'd totally be a shoebill. I want to be a pink fairy armadillo. 

Hank: You obviously have spent some time thinking about that.

Emily: I do.

Hank: Whoa look at all those sticky finger feet. 

Is that what they do? Dig and eat worms?

Emily: Yeah, it's the life. Those are the molds

I showed this on a recent BrainScoop Episode. This is a colugo. It is a gliding lemur. There's like really interesting convergent evolution between these guys-- they're not part of the lemur family they're not actually primates--between these and flying squirrels. Because they have this membrane that connects between their wrists and their ankles so that they can you know, woo! Next to bats, they probably have the most advanced flying abilities. They're like gliding, they got to grapple on to your tree. I might be a gliding lemur in my next life, actually.

Kitty drawers! Look at all the different kinds of kitty skulls! 

Hank: No. No idea what that is. 

Emily: They're grisons.

Hank: Oh, what? I've never heard of that animal.

Emily: You've never heard of a grison? A greater grison? They're part of the mustelid family. They're kind of related to wolverines. Honey Badgers kinda badgers, kinda wolverines, kinda grison-y mustelid. 

We just have boxes full of baculum.

Hank: Oh just wolverine penises.

Emily: Yeah. Just all of them. Just - they make such a wonderful noise.

Hank: Why do you collect those specifically?

Emily: They were probably kept with the skulls and then someone just decided to put them all in boxes together. There's so much variation. Okay.

Hank: I mean I'm looking forward to watching a video of one of these guys on YouTube because he looks like a, he looks like an otter mixed with a badger.

 (04:00) to (06:00)

Emily: This is a regular North American raccoon, this is probably-

Hank: Why is his tail so little? 

Emily: I don't know, there's a lot of variation. This is a young raccoon, as well. There's a lot of variation in raccoons. I've grown to really like raccoons, since we've had Soon Raccoon on the channel so often. Raccoon is like the perfect mascot for The Brain Scoop, cause they're kind of underappreciated, but they're really curious, and they're really funny, and they're really sneaky. I don't know how that has anything to do with our show. Looks at this tail on this one.

Hank: Look at that tail

Emily: Yeah. I don't know if I've ever looked in this drawer before.

Hank: Look at that, see there's still stuff to see.

Emily: Yeah, coati, they have South American, um, relatives of the raccoon.

Glaucomys. Here they are.

Hank: Woah! What?

Emily: Yeah, flying squirrels. They're so soft. These are the best. I want a fur made out of flying squirrels.

Hank: No.

Emily: I mean--

Hank: Oh my god.

Emily: -- I want to have their fur, like on my body.

Hank: Holy c-- Oh.

Emily: Like, not take it from them

Hank: You want to grow it.

Emily: Yeah... [mumbling]

Hank: I thought you wanted a fur, like a fur coat

Emily: No, no.

Hank: No, you just want to be covered in fur like that.

Emily: Yeah, yeah.

Hank: Yes, this is an experience that, um, I feel privilege to have had.

Emily: Woo.


I don't, I don't play with the specimens.

Hank: These ones are also soft, but I feel like that one is softer for some reason.

Emily: Yeah, probably because I sit and pet it often.

Move my boyfriend over here. He's lost a little bit of weight.

Hank: You need a hand?

Emily: Nah, I got it.

Hank: OK.

Emily: It's the biggest kitty! Actually, it's not the biggest kitty, but it's really close. This is an African lion skull, and it has plaster teeth, cause they got removed somehow. The really cool thing about cats is that morphologically, they're all super similar. So, you'll have dogs and foxes look quite a bit different from wolf skulls, but with cats, like, aside from a more pronounce sagittal crest in the back for muscle attachments, most cat skulls look the same. Like so this is like--

Hank: So, like a giant cat.

 (06:00) to (08:00)

Emily: Yeah, like your giant house cat. They have the same amount of teeth, and they have this really unique dentition. They have carnivorous dentition for sheering flesh.

Hank: What's the biggest kitty, if that's not it?

Emily: It's-- Oh, well...

Hank: Well?

Emily: Well...

Hank: Well

Emily: I do like that one. We do have a cast of smilodon. This is a saber-tooth.

Hank: Well, that's not alive, though.

Emily: Uh, no, but this is a, you know, representative of an extinct species.

Hank: That's freakin--

Emily: Still pretty cool. I mean, come on! Look at those teeth!

Hank: What the hell is that for? How could that possibly?

Emily: Well, it didn't last I mean...

Hank: Yeah, but it lasted long enough for that morphology to occur.

Emily: And, their teeth are actually serrated. These canines aren't totally round as you would expect. They're, they're suppose to be like knife-like, they have edges.

Hank: Mhmm. These aren't for like show. They're not like tooth versions of antlers.

Emily: No.

Hank: Those are for death.

Emily: Those are-- those are for annihilation. We've been talking about de-extinction quite a bit, and, um, I don't know if I would want to have a saber-tooth cat brought back from extinction.

Hank: No. No.

Emily: This will be it.

Hank: Oh, giant porcupine!

Emily: Porcupines. Porcupines are the biggest ever.

[Hank coughs]

Emily: They-- This is the smelliest cabinet. Can you imagine trying to skin and stuff a porcupine?

Here's some naked role mat--

[Hank laughing]

--Naked Mole-rat fetuses.

Hank: Aw, what's up with you man?

Emily: They were just stuffed really weird, but this one-- I mean they kind of look like penises.

Pygmy Jerboa, which is a tiny, tiny version of a jumping, jumping kangaroo mouse. It's tail is three times the whole length of its, its little body. Its body is like an inch long. It's so adorable. I can't even handle it.

Hank: So, he's coming with you?

Emily: Yeah, and I, I, I've gotten some angry messages from people, um, because they're like, "How dare you? You can't just do whatever with a museum specimen." But he has been approved by curators on both end to do a formal and official inter-museum loan. He will have his paperwork filled out, and he can come along with as a, as a temporary loan to the Field Museum.

 (08:00) to (08:29)

Hank: Emily, thank you for my final, uh, second tour of the, of the museum here.

Emily: You're welcome.

Hank: You're great.

Emily: Anytime. Aw.

Hank: We'll miss you from Missoula.

Emily: Yeah.

Hank: Thanks for letting everyone in.

Emily: Thanks for giving me my own show on YouTube!

Hank: Thank you.

Emily: Huh, huh, ah! Thank you.

Hank: Congratulations.

Emily: Thanks.

Hank: And, uh--

Emily: I'm so excited.

Hank: We'll see you in Chicago.

Emily: Bye!