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Hank goes head-to-head with the Brain Scoop’s Emily Graslie to match wits about springs, hoaxes, and human evolution!

Hosted By: Michael Aranda
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[Intro Music]

M: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to SciShow Quiz show, the only show the only quiz show that still has brains on it. I'm your host Michael Aranda, on my left we have Pilates fanatic Hank Green.

H: I do have a very very strong core

M: And on my right we have the Field Museum's Chief Curiosities Correspondent and host of the Brain Scoop, the staggeringly intelligent Emily Graslie.

E: Ah, that was quite, I can't live up to all that.  

H: That's good it's like you were practicing

E: Wow I

M: Whoo

H: It's like you were practicing that last night

E: whoa

H: She's got bug wings on her ears

E: Yeah, they're anatomically correct uh, Hymenoptera, um, bee, bee wings, it's great, yeah

H: Anatomically correct bee wings?

E: Yeah

H: Laser cut out of wood?

E: Yeah

H: That's like nerdy on like four different levels

E: Hey, you know, I try, really hard

M: Hank, you are, you are playing on behalf of Bryan Danard. Dan-erd? Day-nerd? I don't know. Bryan D.

H: Bryan, I will try

All: [Laugh]

M: And Emily, you are playing on behalf of Allison Ribeiro.

E: Oh, sweet, Allison, I got you. That sounded creepy. There we go.

M: Hank, you start out with 1000 points. Emily, you are starting out with 1001 points.

All: Ooooh

E: Oh, nice

H: Wow, this is cruel.

M: Okay, each time you answer a question correctly you'll win some points. And if you answer incorrectly you will lose some points. Uh, whoever's got the most at the end wins some DFTBA merchandise, so Stefan, what can our contestants win today?

S: Thanks Michael. Our winner and loser today will be taking home a lot of swag including the "I Won SciShow Quiz Show" button or the highly coveted "I Lost SciShow Quiz Show" button. As well as Emily and Hank's autographed scorecards from today's episode, and a grab bag of DFTBA merch. Back to you Michael.

M: Ok, you guys ready?

E: Yeah

M: This is multiple choice, round one, called "spring." To celebrate Spring, this question is about the science of springs.

H: So not the season?

E: Yeah, I was confused

M: Yes. English physicist Robert Hook is generally described as an irritable and jealous man who picked fights with no less than Sir Isaac Newton and wrote all of his calculations in ciphers so that no one could steal his work

H: Jerk


M: But in 1660, he gave the world one simple but useful truth about springs. He determined that the force required to stretch out a spring is directly proportional to the distance to which you stretch it.

H: Kay.

M: And the same was true if you wanted to compress a spring. So, it takes F amount of force to stretch out a spring to distance X. And thus would require a force of 2F to stretch it to a distance of 2X. Still with me?

H: Yeah.

E: NUuuuuuuhhhhh, yeah! There we go.

M: Now the question is, What property of springs does Hook's law describe? Is it tensile strength, ductility, elasticity, or plasticity?

H: I'm going to say tensile strength

M: That is incorrect.

All: Aaaaaugghhhhh.

H:. Why do I ever answer at all? I only lose points.

M: I don't know. That is minus 100 points for Hank.  Sorry.

E: Check it out. Do I get to answer? What are the options?

M: Yeah. Um, tensile strength, probably don't pick this one, ductility, elasticity, or plasticity?

E: Three, the third one, the C.

M: You are correct. That is 100 points for Emily Graslie.

All: I couldn't even remember what the term was...

H: Wha- which one? Plasticity?

M: Uh

M&E: Elasticity.

E: I do remember now.

H: Oh, I thought that mea-ahumpiahmicakehab.

M: In terms of physics, elasticity is a property that allows a substance to return to its previous shape and size after being deformed. Hook identified this property by studying springs, and objects that behave according to his formula are said to be Hookean. Tensile strength refers to the amount of stress a substance can withstand without breaking. Ductility, meanwhile, is a material's ability to stretch out under tensile stress, that is, when it's pulled. And plasticity is the opposite of elasticity. It's the property that makes an object deform permanently after a force is applied to it.

M: Round two: Scientific Hoaxes. Question 2A: In 1912, an amateur archaeologist named Charles Dawson claimed that he  found fractions of a half million year old human skull and jaw along with primitive tools in a gravel pit in the English town of Piltdown. When this discovery was announced to the world later that year, what was the supposed significance of the Piltdown Man.

Was it: proof that humans had not evolved over time, a member of an extinct race of giants, a recently deceased Neanderthal suggesting they'd never gone extinct, or a missing link between apes and humans?

H: I don't really know who got that first. Let's let Emily have it.

E: The last one. 

H: Yeah, that's what I was going to say.

M: You are correct.

H: Yeah.

E: That's the one thing I remember from anthropology!

All: Haha

M: The bones were purported to show both human- and ape-like features. Namely, a large human-sized brain case with an ape's jaw. And it wasn't until the 1950s that scientists proved that, well, that's exactly what it was, a human cranium with an orangutan's jawbone. No one knows what Dawson's motives were for staging the hoax, but the whole idea of a missing link is now understood to be a ruse in itself. That's because humans didn't evolve from apes. Instead, humans and apes both shared distant but common evolutionary ancestor.

Um, that is 200 points for Ms. Emily Graslie.

H: So you have 2201 points. 

E: Is it two thousand? I got an extra thousand points.

M: Did I say thousand? I definitely said hundred, right?

H: I just made things up. It's 2 million 200 thousand 222 and one point

E: Allison, you and I have your energies.
(Laughs) This is getting so weird!

Question 2B. American inventor Charles Redheffer lit upon a clever scheme in 1812 when he invented a device so remarkable, that people gladly paid 5 dollars apiece to see it. Redheffer then asked the city of Philadelphia, where he lived, to pay him to build a larger version of his invention for the benefit of humanity. What did Redheffer's miraculous invention supposedly do? Demonstrate perpetual motion, turn sunlight into electricity, extract gold from seawater, or turn salt water into fresh water.   

H: I was completely wrong. I was COMPLETELY wrong.

E: Just, I mean, if you have an i- if you just have a- you could just try. 'Cuz I would just give you....

H: Just let me go for it.

E: I have no idea.

H: I thought it was going to be the mechanical Turk, the device that played chess. It was a hoax, it turned out it was more of a man inside of the device. So it was more of a man playing chess, which is less remarkable. So I'm going to guess perpetual motion, cuz that's been forever!

M:You are correct!

H: We still have those people, still now! They're like 'We figured it out! It's coming from the ether. There's dark energy. And we're pull...' No! No! Still not possible!

M: That is another 200 points for Mr. Hank Green.

H: All right I'm catching up.

M: This perpetual motion device did have a dude inside with a crank.

H: Did it really?

E: Really? Oh, gotcha... And, to be fair, chess is really hard. So, just saying!
M: He claimed he invented a perpetual motion machine, one that required no source of energy in order to operate. Which is impossible because among other things, the first law of thermodynamics states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed, it always has to come from somewhere and go somewhere else. So a machine can't perform work without consuming energy.

But Redheffer wasn't about obeying laws, he knocked together a contraption that appeared to use gravity to constantly drive a device with a series of gears and weights. But city fathers in Philadelphia didn't buy the scam, so they tried it again in New York, and there he was exposed by none other than Robert Fulton, the inventor of the steamboat, who investigated the device and found that it was being driven by an old man turning a crank in the next room.

Okay, question 2C. In 2002 BBC News reported that German experts had discovered that a certain human trait would become extinct within exactly 200 years. This caused considerable alarm, particularly in the many people who had that trait and wanted it to continue being a thing. What was it?

E: [presses the buzzer]

H: I know the answer too. But I was gonna wait for the--

E: Red hair.

H: Nope.

E: Ohh.

M: That is incorrect. [whispers] It's minus 200 points.

E: Oh, I was so early.

H: You got minus 200, I only got minus 100 for the first round.

E: Come on! Cause I didn't even let him give the multiple choice. Ah, don't jump the gun, kids!

H: Now I'm gonna jump the gun, I'm gonna say blue eyes... Is it blue eyes?

E: Suspense

M: That is incorrect.

H: Oh, man, we're both wrong.

E: So can we do this one again and get the options?

H: Yeah, what are the actual choices in the multiple choice?

M: Freckles, blue eyes, right-handedness, or blond hair.

H: Well, I'm glad that at least my option was in there, cause I would have said that anyway. I thought I'd heard that, that people were like "blue eyes aren't gonna exist anymore!" and I was like "yeah, they are!" I thought we did a SciShow on it.

M: The answer is blond hair. It's not clear why the BBC published this article, but it was very specific in its claims. According to the unnamed German scientists, their genetic research somehow revealed that the last  human with blond hair would be born in Finland in 2202. The idea went viral, showing up in media ranging from the Times of London to the Colbert Report.

But the fact is traits don't go extinct in any predictable way and not in so short a time frame. Instead, physical traits tend to dwindle when they turn out not to perform any evolutionary function, or if they confer a disadvantage to an individual's fitness of survival. Blondness itself might not have a direct function but is thought to be a result of the adaptation for light skin pigmentation which allowed people living at higher latitudes to produce vitamin D from sunlight.

So let's go ahead and take away 200 points from Hank Green--

H: --Why do I even try?--

M: --for saying that last question. And we'll move on to round 3, double or nothing, wherein you guys will wager some number of your points (it's most fun if you wager them all) on the answer of the following question, the subject of which I can just tell you is Oddities of Human Evolution.

I guess this is the part where we go to commercial break. Let's go to commercial break!

E: Kay

M: Welcome back, you guys ready? Here we go.

H: I'm ready.

M: I didn't even wait for you guys to answer.

H: This is for you Bryan

E: get.. Allison. Yeah. 

M: Humans have been changing over time, and this has sometimes resulted in differences from our evolutionary ancestors. Some you might expect, and others, not so much. With that in mind, which of the following statements about modern human evolution is not true? Humans have bigger whites of their eyes compared to other primates. 9% of modern humans are missing a leg muscle that other human ancestors had. The brain of modern humans grows larger over time. And modern humans are the first human species known to have red hair.

E: Are these which one is true? 

H: Which one is false

M: One of them is false.

E: Oh man! One of them, one of them is false. 

M: One of them is false.

E&H: Awwwww

H: One of them is false.

E: Ugh

H: I have my answer Michael.

E: Me as well. 

M: You guys ready?

H: Yes

E: I'm going to go with it.

M: Show your answers, what you got?

H: Stop waving your stick at me.

M: Well I, what does Emily, what did Emily put?

H: She put two. I put four. 

M: Hmm. 

H: So we got different answers. 

E: Yeah. 

M: You guys are both wrong. 

H&E: Awww!

H: That's why you don't wager all your points when you're winning.

E: Oh! You wagered all of them!

H: I sure did.

E: I didn't. 

M: The answer was "the brains of modern humans grow over time"-

H: I thought that was-

M: -that was false-

H: -that was a little ambiguous to me.

E: Yeah, like over time from babies to-

M: oh

E: -cause that's you know like

H: Also, from, well "modern humans" when, when does modern start? I don't know the answer to that question. 

E: Gettin' deep on SciShow Quiz Show

M: Once again, I didn't write the script.

H: I know, I know, I know, I know I guess I see what they, yes I, I, I'm down.

M: Okay.

H: But I thought because there are like orangutans that have red hair, that there would definitely be some primates that did. Or there some, some human ancestors that did. Or, what counts as an ancestor? Because squirrels and us share an ancestor, and some of them have red hair. So I win!

E: Okay. All right.

M: The fact is our brains are actually shrinking. Our brains have decreased in volume by 10% over the last 20,000 years. Which is not proof that humans are getting stupider, but it does suggest that our brains are becoming more efficient at processing data while using less space. In evolutionary terms, this could be a big benefit, because about 20% of the calories we consume every day goes to powering our brain, and so smaller brains could mean lower energy requirements. As for the other points it's true that humans have larger whites of the eyes, called sclera, compared to other primates. Biologists think this made us more effective at communicating with each other visually. In experiments for example, newborn great apes can't follow where an experimenter is looking when they just move their eyes, they have to turn their heads for the apes to start to follow their gaze. As for the second answer, there is a muscle that connects to the underside of the knee called the plantaris muscle which our primate ancestors also had. They used it for things like climbing trees and picking things up with their feet. But in modern humans it's gone unused. So now about 9-10% of us are born without it. For those of us who do have it, it's so useless that it's often harvested by surgeons to reconstruct tissues in other parts of the body. And finally, one of the most striking facts revealed by the Neanderthal genome was that about 1% of our thick-browed brethren were actually gingers, so modern Homo sapiens didn't invent red-headedness. 

M: You have zero points,

E: Yay!

M: Emily has 500 points. You won for Allison. Congratulations Allison, you're going to get some DFTBA stuff. Umm

H: Bryan, you'll probably get something

M: Yeah, the loser gets a thing. 

H: The loser gets a thing

M: The loser gets a thing-

E: -consolation prize-

M: -here on SciShow Quiz Show

H: Just a big loser trophy.

E: Oh, that's not going to make him feel very good.

H: Well, but it's a thing

E: Maybe, that's true.

M: Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow Quiz Show. Don't forget to check out the BrainScoop,, and of course don't forget to go to and subscribe. 

[Outro music]