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MLA Full: "Pangolins." YouTube, uploaded by thebrainscoop, 21 March 2013,
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It's basically a Sandshrew.


The Brain Scoop is written and hosted by:
Emily Graslie

Executive Producer:
Hank Green

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

You know who's awesome? Martina Šafusová, Diana Raynes, Barbara Velázquez, Tony Chu, Adam Wojniłło, Alex Austin, Seth Bergenholtz, Gaia Zaffaroni, and John-Alan Pascoe for providing closed captions.

 Title Card

(0:07) *Emily makes little random noise --- humming or something --- not actual words?*


(0:15) Emily: Hey guys! The other night I asked you on Facebook and Twitter to decide between a Polar Bear, a Sloth, and a Pangolin and the winner is...

(0:35) ...And the winner is Sloths! Just kidding, the title of the episode is Pangolins.

(0:57) I get a lot of questions about what my favorite specimen is in the collection and uh, after much deliberation and serious consideration, I came to the conclusion that it is probably the Pangolin.

(1:08) And this is for a multitude of reasons, for one, um, I'm really surprised that we have one in our collection, 'cause Pangolins are typically found in parts of Africa, and in different tropical parts of Asia.

(1:19) So the fact that we have on in Montana is a little unlikely and really cool.

(1:24) Um, another reason I like Pangolins is because they are very unique looking. They have a couple of different kinds of common names, sometimes they're called "the walking artichoke" or "anteater pine cones" because that's basically what they look like.

(1:38) They are covered in keratin scales, and keratin is, if you watched the last episode, you know is modified hair and fingernail.

(1:45) So they have this armor that covers the entirety of their body, excluding their soft bellies. 

(1:52) It acts as armored defense against predators, they have really long tails that they can curl over their heads when they're threatened and they kind of hide in these little balls and the scales on their tail are serrated to a certain extent so they also will wiggle their tails around and act as a weapon.

(2:10) Another reason I really like Pangolins is because they are one of the only mammals that walks bipedally.

(2:14) You might notice that they have really formidable looking claws on their fore-limbs, but they don't really use these for fighting, um, and their claws are a little bit brittle so they don't walk with putting any pressure on them.

(2:25) They kind of tuck them under their bodies and then they'll hobble when they walk and use their tail to help them balance. So they kind of look like little Hobbits --- really adorable.

(2:34) They use these claws for digging into termite and ant hill mounds. Uh, a single Pangolin can consume up to 70 million (70,000,000) ants by itself annually and they do this because they have the longest tongue relative to its body size of any other mammal.

(2:46) Their tongue is so long that it has muscle attachments on its pelvis!

(2:50) So they use this really long tongue to stick it all the way down to these ant hills and suck up all these other ants, they don't have any teeth so they will ingest rocks and other kinds of hard materials that help grind up all the ants in their stomachs.

(3:03) And even though they are primarily ant eaters, they aren't actually "anteaters" as you might know them, they're in totally different orders than the giant anteater or even armadillos.

(3:13) They're kind of like a mash-up between an armadillo and an anteater, but they're physiologically so unique that they're in their own order.

(3:18) As they are right now, Pangolins aren't on any kind of threatened or endangered species list, but uh, hopefully that will change some time soon, because they've been subjected to a lot of poaching and illegal trafficking.

(3:29) For one thing, their meat is considered a delicacy so they're hunted freely without any kind of legal implications, their scales, the keratin scales, are also being used in eastern medicine, and we know, from you know learning about rhino horns and rhino poaching, keratin has no medicinal value whatsoever. 

(3:45) So, um, its a little unfortunate that that's a misconception and its leading into, uh, fast population decline in with the species, however, with awareness we can hopefully change that.

(3:58) Because Pangolins are awesome and I would love to see one, someday, in person --- not dead.


(4:15) In my next life, I'm gonna be a Pangolin. Probably