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MLA Full: "Zebra Bits." YouTube, uploaded by thebrainscoop, 23 October 2013,
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APA Full: thebrainscoop. (2013, October 23). Zebra Bits [Video]. YouTube.
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Chicago Full: thebrainscoop, "Zebra Bits.", October 23, 2013, YouTube, 09:56,
What's black and white and red all over?
A zebra on The Brain Scoop!


The Brain Scoop is written and hosted by:
Emily Graslie

Special Guest:
Anna Goldman, Mammals Prep Lab Manager at The Field Museum and #1 Superhero Crime-Fighting Woman in Science Champion Extraordinaire

Created By:
Hank Green

Directed, Edited, Animated, and Scored by:
Michael Aranda .

Filmed on Location and Supported by:
The Field Museum in Chicago, IL

Thanks to Martina Šafusová, Alex Austin, Andrés García Molero, Tony Chu, and Seth Bergenholtz for their uber-helpful translating skills!
Zebra: Welcome... to... The Brain Scoop!


Emily: We're back, with Anna Goldman, and today we have a zebra! How long do you think it was in the freezer?

Anna: Oh god, I don't know, um...

E: Did I already ask that?

A: I would assume, since he was pretty far back, and in a bucket, it's definitely longer than two years. But, considering how dry he is, I- I don't know. This guy may- it's-

E: Five years?

A: We've had- We've had specimens that we've found from the zoo that have been in there from the 90's.

E: From the 90's? Like the 1990's?

A: From the 90's. The 1990's.

E: Not the 1890's?

A: Not the 1890's. So it's possible that it's that old, but it's also possible that it's, you know, 2005, 2006.

E: So do you know why zebras have stripes?

A: Because when they run as a pack, they can run in all different directions and confuse their predators. And they don't know where they're going or which end is up and they're like, "I dunno who to kill!"

E: And when zebra babies are born they have brown stripes. And they're like polar bears, where their skin is black underneath. Like you can- I don't know if you can see- yeah you can. You can see, underneath the white fur, they have black skin. That looks gross. All that tissue... is uh, kinda, mmm. Fatty and rot- rotten.

A: That's dry, too.

E: Rot-ten.

A: Ooh! Uuulgh.

E: Ulgh.

A: Wuueew.

E: That's gross.

A: Wooew.

E: I don't know about that.

A: Ooh! Did you see that?

E: No.

A: Look.

E: Eww! Ohh. Mmm, fluid.

A: Back in- let's go out- back in.

E: Woah. Bubbles and stuff in the veins.

A: Mmm. I just removed a bunch of meat from the scapula, and this is where it joins with the humerus, right here. And I'm just, this is all, like, that's all a piece of meat right there. So I'm gonna just remove- I just gonna like, cut that out.

E: Just cut it out!

A: Just cut it outta there!

E: The really interesting thing about horses, um, they're perissodactyls- they're odd-toed ungulates- meaning they walk on either one or three toes. A horse walks on the tip of its middle finger. So this is one finger, and this is one nail. So like, horses literally walk like this. And they go nyeh-nyeh-nyeh-nyeh-nyeh-nyeh-nyeh-nyeh-nyeh-nyeh. (Whinnies) You have the bone that articulates right here, and then another bone goes inside of the hoof. So there's another- there's like a toenail- there's a hoof-shaped bone underneath the hoof, is what I was trying to say. But this, back here, is all squishy. And it's just padding. To absorb- it's like...

A: That's the little heart shape.

E: Yeah, the heart shape is like a shock absorber.

A: Wow.

E: If you had your finger like this, this is exactly how a horse's foot is like. And then this is all hoof, where my nail is would come around, and then there would be fatty bits behind it. You can... do your... prance. Prancing!

Michael: Flip everyone off? 
E: No, I'm prancing. I'm a pretty prancing pony... princess.

A: So I think that's all...

E: Oh neat!

A: That's all tendon, isn't it? There's no bone in there.

E: Woah! No! That's- that's gotta be cartilage or something.

A: Yeah. Cool. So this is uh...

E: (Gasps) That's the uh, that's the end of the scapula.

A: This is your scapula.

E: It's not my scapula. My scapula doesn't look like that.

A: So it goes- goes like- like that across your back. Like...

E: Yeah. Yeah. Like right there, like a wing. Like the wings of an angel.

A: Yeah.

E: Fly away! Smells ba- It smells like bad hot dogs, though.

A: Good hot dogs! So, since this guy came from a zoo, they took off the back of his head. This is his little- his little brain cap here. Fits somehow. I don't- I don't really know how. I was never good at Tetris. But they take the brain out to do a necropsy study, so we don't ever get the brain. And his ears were missing too, if anybody noticed. And this right here, all this dried stuff in here is his brain case. They didn't take that. They just like, went in and robbed it.

E: Brain robbers!

A: Yeah. This is the back of the nose. This is the sinus. So see, it's got two- two spots to it? So it's divided by a septum. And this is one nasal passage and that's the other. And it lets out into the back of the throat. And so the mouth is right through here, which I can stick my whole arm through.

E: Woah, oh god!

A: In the mouth!

E: Augh, there's Anna!

A: Hi!

E: All the way- that's really disturbing looking.

A: But it's a really good representation of how everything's connected. If I could get my whole hand through the nose,

E: So you're like "bleuugh."

A: You could see... so this goes all the way back out through here, and then it's g-

E: Oh, god.

A: Well... This is inappropriate.

E: You've got something... on your arm.

A: What? I don't want this to dry like this, 'cause then it'd be really hard to get off. But see how easy that is? Really simple. Everybody should get this dirty just, you know, once a day.

E: Once a day, kids. Shove your arm...

A: Once a day.

E: through the back of the throat of a zebra.

A: Look at his lips! (Whinnies) 

E: You have the side of his face. This is where the nostrils go, and the air can circulate throughout here, and then it comes back here. You get all kinds of booger-y stuff. And then this is cartilage between it. So when you get your nose pierced, when you get your septum pierced, it's going right there. You have lubricant between your joints. Like oil, like fuel. There's- that's-

A: (Gasps)

E: That's joint lubricant.

A: Ooh, lookit.

E: And like, it kinda like, is kinda like, stringy and like gooey, like saliva a little bit. That's uh, joint lubricant.

A: That's totally nuts.

E: So my mom ran outta this! And now her knees are shot! Mom, stop going skiing. Eww, it all came out- EWW it's all OHH, gross! It's like spit.

A: What are you gonna do with it now? Oh my- that's like edible. That looks like in a salad.

E: What? I don't think so.

A: Hearts of palm! It looks just like hearts of palm.

E: I don't know what hearts of palm is.

A: It's this- it's the like, little center of the palm. Palm tree. It's- they pickle it and they put it in salads and it's really tasty.

E: Oh. That's- that's tendon! On the underside of the radius and ulna.

A: It looks tasty, that's all I'm saying.

E: Woah- woah! That's a big muscle!

A: Yeah, look at the...

E: Do you know what muscle that is? That's a couple of muscles. And you can tell- can you hold it to the camera?

A: Is it by the- it's part of the trapezius, isn't it?

E: Yeah, yeah, and then you have these separations right here, too. And you can see where individual muscles come together. This is like bisected. It's like a topographical map.

A: You can tell the age of a tree based on the lines.

E: That's not- This isn't botany.

A: Scratch that. Look at all the different- look at the- (whistles) Look at all that. Crisscross-y.

E: Is that connective tissues?

A: Isn't that cool? Yeah. That's some- That's some crazy stuff. Yeah, so there's all that muscle under there. That's just solid muscle. Really pretty, beautiful muscle.

E: He's got dirty teeth.

A: Yeah, just trying to get a little bit outta there, make it more comfortable. That's the least I can do.

E: Ohp! I lost my scalpel blade in his mouth. That's not... Ohp, ohp, there it is.

A: Uh oh. I don't see it.

E: I- I hear it. Do you, like, got tweezers? Maybe I can pull it out this way? Whoop, there, okay.

A: There we go. Oh hey, Emily, let me get that for you.

E: WooaAAHHHhh. That's disturbing. Oh, Jesus. Okay.

A: There!

E: Look at the- look at the roof of the mouth. Look at that. That texture. His teeth are really worn. Zoo animals live longer than their wild cousins, obviously, 'cause they don't have to worry about predators. So his teeth are about half the size as maybe they would be in the wild. There's still all kinds of hay and stuff stuck in them. The space right here, between the incisors and the molars is called a diastema. And you see that in grazing animals and in rodents, because they don't need big shearing teeth like carnivores have, and that's for biting and for like, grabbing, but these guys just have the big fleshy lips for pulling up the grass, and chomping the grass, and then they just go back here and they just chew and chew and chew. Have you heard of YouTube?

A: YouTube?

E: Yeah.

A: What's YouTube?

E: I don't know. It's this thing that these kids are doing these days.

A: Silly kids. Doing these things.

E: So Anna, do you like being on The Brain Scoop?

A: I do, very much! I think it's fun to have people watch what you do everyday and get excited about it.

E: Because you do this every day. Like, this isn't just something you get to do and come in on the weekends. This is- This is your full time job, you are THE mammal prep lab...

A: I am THE mammals preparator.

E: Yeah.

A: But uh, yeah, no, I like to let people know that this goes on in the basement, and that if they see me on the train, I've probably been around a lot of blood and smelly things.


E: It still has brains on it.