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Katherine is back with more information about cats and Jessi from Animal Wonders shares Gonzo the crimson-rumped toucanet.

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[Intro plays]


HG: Hello! And welcome to the SciShow Talk Show where it's SciShow and we talk! Today we are joined in the studio by my wife, Katherine.

KG: It's me again!

HG: She's also our social media manager. So, when you see tweets and also video descriptions and "tumbles" and things like that...

KG: (laughs)

HG: Mostly her.

KG: Yeah.

HG: Today, we're going to talk more about cats.

KG: Uh-huh!

HG: What kind of cat information do you have for us today?

KG: Uh, I would like to tell you about why cats are different than other animals.

HG: What makes cats cats?

KG: What makes them cats, yeah.

HG: Interesting.


KG: Hopefully! They're obligate carnivores which means that they have to eat meat and uh...

HG: And only meat.

KG: And animal organs to survive. Um-

HG: Animal organs doesn't count as meat.

KG: Well, it does but like, they need to eat the organs as well.

HG: Okay.

KG: So, like, they can't just survive on the flesh, like the muscle tissue. They must also eat the organs for the specific, you know-

HG: Yeah, you gotta get that-

KG: Strange nutrition that is in those organ meats.

HG: -that nutrition. The vitamins!

KG: Yeah!

HG: Yeah.

KG: (laughs) It's how they take their multivitamins.

HG: (laughs) Kidneys.

KG: Mmm, livers! Um, and they, uh, mostly are solitary animals. Um, lions are the major exception to that, although cheetahs do often hunt in groups. Um, feral cats also make colonies. Uh, which is -

HG: Which is awesome.

KG: And strange.

HG: Yeah.

KG: Yeah. And kind of scary.

HG: (laughs)

KG: Just think about, there's like - mhmm, they're like, they're like the Jets and the Sharks. (sings) Da-nah, na-nah. (snaps)

HG: (laughs)

KG: Coming at you. Um, they have, uh- they walk on their toes. So-

HG: Mhmm.

KG: As the, you know -

HG: They don't walk on their...

KG: A lot... Most animals have these bones.

HG: Right, the elongated foot. Unlike what we have.

KG: But they're actually just walking on their digits.

HG: Mhmm.

KG: They have those soft toe pads.

HG: Yes.

KG: And protractible claws that they can stick out - 

HG: Which I've always thought...

KG: - at will.

HG: ... is pretty freakin' cool. Like, we don't really have anything like that.

KG: Pretty amazing. It's 'cause the claw is actually connected to the last bone of the toe with a ligament.

HG: Hm. And they just like, flex a muscle.

KG: Yeah, all species of cats can do that. Except, I think, the cheetah.

HG: Hm!

KG: Cheetahs are really... 

HG: They've lost that.

KG: ...strange in that way.

HG: Hm.

KG: Um, they have this high-domed skull, and a short muzzle compared to a lot of other, um, mammals.

HG: Mammals.

KG: Um, and not very many teeth in there.

HG: Yeah!

KG: All they need to do is tear flesh off of bones.

HG: Yeah. Cats do not have a lot of teeth.

KG: Um, so they don't need a lot of different kinds of teeth in their mouth. They have that large sagittal crest on their-

HG: For chewing.

KG: Yep. That's what the jaw muscles attach to so that they can clamp down. Um, really...

HG: Uh-uh.

KG: know...

HG: Yep.

KG: ...Hard and hang on to something that's obviously trying to run away from them, because they are wanting to kill it and eat it.

HG: Yep.

KG: And their jaws can actually only open vertically.

HG: So they can't...

KG: They can't. They don't have any, yeah, they don't have any chewy motions.

HG: So they literally cannot grind food.

KG: No.

HG: They can only bite it off

KG: Yep.

HG: And tear it off, and swallow it. (laughs)

KG: Tear, yep, tear. And then they actually have these, those horny papillae on their tongues.

HG: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah!

KG: So that they can get-

HG: So that's not just, that's not just for brushing their-

KG: -little bits of meat.

HG: -furs.

KG: It aids in grooming, yes. But it is also so that they can get meat off of bones more easily.

HG: I did not have a cat.

KG: Because they can't like,

HG: Yeah.

KG: gnaw on a bone like a dog can.

HG: So there's like, it's basically...

KG: So they're literally in there, licking, licking the meat off.

HG: ...tongue-teeth.

KG: Yes! (laughs) Little tongue-teeth.

HG: I did not have a cat growing up and the first time my cat, when we got a cat, licked me, I was like BWAAHH!-

KG: (laughs) What?

HG: -What's wrong with your fricking tongue?!

KG: Yeah.

HG: It's got little hairs on it, that must be terribly annoying!

KG: Yeah, and as someone who's kind of allergic to cats, it's probably...

HG: Yeah.

KG: It gets that, it gets that-

HG: Yeah, like injects their saliva into you, just for making of hives.

KG: -gets into your skin, there. Yeah. It's fun.

HG: Yeah.

KG: Their senses are probably pretty- pretty what- pretty much what you would expect.

HG: Yeah.

KG: Um... They have, you know, pretty good binocular vision.

HG: Yep.

KG: Both of their eyes, pointing straight forward so they can chase their prey.

HG: Uhm-hm.

KG: Um... generally, better than us at seeing at night. They can hear-- a lot of the smaller ones have very-- have hearing that's very sensitive to high frequency sounds, so that they can hear their prey, 'cause a lot of rodents make--

HG: Mm-hm. High frequency...

KG: -those high frequency sounds. So, it's-- just helps them hunt. They can also... uh, they have a-an extra organ for smell. It's called the "vomeronasal organ". A lot of animals, actually have it. Um, all different types of animals-- lizards, and...

HG: Hmm.

KG: Um, and it's to help them to detect pheromones, basically.

HG: Hmm.

KG: And other chemical, uhm... (gestures)

HG: Um-hm... signals.

KG: Excretions in the air, basically, yeah. And you can-- sometimes you may have seen a cat doing this, like, they kind of like, open their mouth, 'cause it's in the roof of their mouth. And they sort of sni-- they don't actually sniff--

HG: Yeah.

KG: --but, they're opening their mouth and like (makes facial expression)

HG: Tasting the air...

KG: (nodding) Basically.

HG: Awesome.

KG: Yeah. Um, totally awesome. And, so... that's the general things that are interesting about...

HG: About cats.

KG:... the cat family.

HG: Science, and interesting cat things. So--

KG: And what distinguishes them from other animals, specifically.

HG: Now, it's time to see a real animal in the studio.

(special guest graphics) (5:45)

KG: Ooh, Let's do it.

HG: And, here we are with Jessi from Animal Wonders, and this marvelous specimen whose head is as big as its body.

JK: (laughs) This is Gonzo. Gonzo is a crimson-rumped toucanet. Check it out.

HG: Uhh, I see. I see.

JK: (laughs)

KG: (laughs)

HG: I was like, crimson, really?...

JK: Crimson-rumped.

HG: ...before you got to rumped, I was like, that's--

KG: I don't see it.

HG: Do they have toucan... plumages?

JK: Opposite? (laughs) Which is just a really nice name for red butt.

HG: Yeah, and it's got-- the red-butted toucanet.

JK: Mm-hm. And it's pretty-- it's pretty bright back there.

HG: Yeah.

JK: Would you like a treat?

HG: Ooh, thank you.

JK: Here you go, buddy. (laughs)

HG: That was nice.

JK: Isn't that neat?

HG: Yeah, I just throw it back into my gullet there.

JK: Yeah, so it's favorite food is blueberries-- any kind of berries. We have grapes today. Grapes and papaya, and we'll see how much he wants to eat. Um' but when he grabs a hold of it, he's gonna figure it out a little bit.

HG: What is that?

JK: And then--

HG: Ah, just make sure that's food.

JK: Yeah.

HG: And then I'm gonna-- and then it's gonna be inside of me.

JK: Yeah, if you--

HG: Right down the middle.

JK: If you look really close, you can actually see his crazy tongue on the inside.

KG: Yeah, I was gonna ask-- say he's got a little tongue. And that he's makin'..

HG: Sorry, don't mean to get too close. (laughs)

JK: (laughs) Make a tie with his tongue. Do it.

HG: (whispers) Do it. Yeah. Ooh... what.. the heck...

KG: Oh, it's long.

JK: It's actually a little barbed.

HG: Yeah, it looks like... freakin' little piece of baleen.

JK: (laughs) Yes! (laughs)

KG: That's crazy.

JK: It does. (laughs) It does and he's just gonna use that to help feel.

HG: Yeah.

KG: There's nothing like a parrot's tongue.

HG: Yeah, no.

JK: Nothing, nothing. They don't use it to manipulate--

KG: Yeah.

JK: --you know, inside a walnut or something like that, feel at all. Well, they do-- they are gonna feel with it, but it's not gonna actually manipulate the food.

HG: Mm-hmm.

JK: Yeah, so their beak is completely different.

HG: Yeah, so tell me about toucanets. Are they just small toucans?

JK: Pretty much. (laughs)

HG: (laughs)

KG: (laughs)

JK: Yep, uh, there's a couple different species of toucanets--

KG: I see...

JK: There's also araçaris as well--

KG: What's that?

JK: --which are (laughing) smaller Ramphastids, the--the family than toucans are in as well. And, uh, they're just a smaller version, and they live in different geographical areas... (gesturing) um, just to fill different niches. And, the crimson-rumped toucanet, he is going to blend in, uh, much better than the other ones, and he's going to be a little bit faster--

HG: Mm-hmm.

JK: --than the other, uh, toucans, or those in his family. Um, these guys are actually kinda known to be grouchy, as well.

KG: Hmm.

HG: Okay. Well, he's doing very well today.

JK: He is.

HG: Aren't you? Yeah, ooh, yeah.

JK: (laughs) Delicious.

KG: It's 'cause grapes.

HG: It's 'cause grapes.

KG: 'Cause grapes are good.

JK: Yes.

HG: So, um, I was lucky enough to be able to handle a toucan bill--

JK: Okay.

HG: Uh, at the zoological museum where Emily works, and, they are very light.

JK: Yes.

HG: I expected them to be much more substantial, but I guess, it makes sense, you're a bird, you gotta be pretty light--

KG: Mm-hmmm.

HG: --and that's a lot of face stuff to have hanging out on you.

JK: It is. (laughs) It is.

KG: Imagine if it was really heavy, they'd just be like bonk (drops head) All the-- everywhere. Everywhere. Huge neck muscles.

HG: (laughs)

JK: Resting all the time.

HG: Oh! What was that?

KG: They've got those hollow-- hollow bones, too.

HG: Yeah.

KG: Mm-hmm.

KG: Like all birds, um...

HG: But, what--

KG: 'Cause they have to fly!

HG: But what is the point, though, of it-- of the-- of the beak?

JK: What's the point? Well, that's kinda debatable whether it help-- really helps them get their food, or whether it's more of a display..

HG: Mm-hmm.

JK: Or, some--

HG: Look at me, I'm so awesome.

JK: --where in between. Yeah. Oh, big bird!

KG: Oh, good boy.

JK: Good work.

KG: That's nice. You like being the center of attention, huh?

JK: (laughs) He does.

KG: Yeah...

JK: As long as I get my food, huh?

KG: Aw, thank you.

HG: Ohh.

JK: Ohh, nice catch.

KG: (laughs)

HG: Almost dropped it, but you caught it. Your head is really big. But, I know it's not just your head. It's your bill. I'm sorry!

JK: (laughs)

HG: I didn't mean to criticize. You're looking at me like...

JK: Look at that stare he's givin' you. (laughs)

HG: What did you say about my head?

JK: So, this-- you can see his-- his head feathers are raising. Those are called the crest feathers, there.

KG: Yeah.

JK. And he's holding them instead of just raising them, and then kind of relaxing.

KG: Okay.

JK: He's holding them up a little bit more so this would be an on-guard.

HG: Yeah, ohh.

KG: It's okay.

HG: I'm sorry, I can-- I can get back a little bit. It's 'cause I said your head was big.

JK: No, no, no, you're fine. Is he looking up or down?

KG: Mm, I think he's looking at the microphone.

HG: I don't know.

JK: I think so, too. (laughs)

HG: (laughs)

JK: Can I eat that?

HG: (laughs)

JK: Is that a berry? (laughs)

HG: Do not eat that.

KG: Looks kind of shiny.

JK: See if I can find another grape.

HG: That's my favorite.

JK: Yep, he's gonna go for it. Here, buddy. (laughs)

HG: (laughs)

KG: (laughs)

JK: What? What?

HG: That turned out to not be food.

KG: That wasn't food.

JK: How about I eat that instead?

KG: That's offensive to me.

JK: Yeah. (laughs) Did you see how upset he got?

KG: He was.

JK: That's not food.

KG: I went out of my way to try and get that.

HG: Geez, I was just trying something new.

KG: Yeah. What a little character.

HG: Yeah. Well, what a pleasure to meet you, Gonzo.

KG: Yeah.

JK: Gonzo, come back on up here. His foot.

HG: Okay, yeah okay.

JK: Good work.

HG: Thanks, Mom.

JK: Yeah. Nice work. He will poke me in the eye, too.

HG: Oh, that's the worst. Yeah, that's--that's where you start to think the toucan bill was maybe not so... good.

JK: Well, eyeballs, they do look like berries, too, so... He's gonna test everything.

HG: It's just, oh, turns out that wasn't a berry.

JK: (laughs) Yeah.

HG: And you're blind.

JK: Yeah. (laughs)

HG: Thanks for coming in, showing us Gonzo.

JK: Yeah, thanks for having us.

HG: Pleasure

JK: Say bye, Gonzo.

HG: Thank you for watching this episode of SciShow. I hope that you enjoyed it as much as we did. Thank you Katherine for coming into the studio. And of course, thank you to Jessi from Animal Wonders. And we'll see you next time.