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  • Hey everybody! Welcome to The Brain Scoop.

  • Today I'm gonna answer some questions about what my favorite things are,

  • because in Ask Emily episodes you ask me a lot of what my favorites are and I didn't know.

  • But now I do.

  • When I visited the paleobotanical collection, the collection's manager, Ian Glasspool, showed me a vial of ash,

  • which happened to be the first known evidence of a fire ever burning on the planet

  • meaning that some 419 million years ago, when photosynthetic bacteria was forming into a kind of fungus,

  • it caught on fire and we have the physical evidence of that event happening.

  • The idea that we can trace such a significant event back to the physical evidence of its happening

  • opened up my mind to the possibility that we can potentially answer any question conceivable of mankind.

  • Sauropods! Especially Amphicoelias, which was an enormous dinosaur

  • only known from a handful of fossils that were found and described in the 1870s before being accidentally misplaced.

  • If this animal were to have existed, it could have been up to 60 meters, or 200 feet, long,

  • which seems a little ridiculous that we wouldn't be able to find more evidence of it

  • considering it was about the length of five and a half school buses put together end-to-end.

  • Somebody just turned the lights off.

  • It's hard to beat insect adaptationslike how the bombardier beetle can fire out a cocktail of catalytic compounds in defense against predators.

  • This vaporic acid comes spewing out of its rear end at about 100°C, or 212°F.

  • Take that.

  • I really enjoyed painting class with Mr. Gulbransen because he let me set up an easel in the back of the classroom

  • and would tell me stories about how after college he lived in a tipi in Wyoming with his girlfriend.

  • He also helped me get a bunch of scholarships to go to school and had a huge positive impact on my life.

  • So thanks, Mr. G.

  • I really enjoyed visiting the International Museum of Surgical Science here in Chicago. In addition to having a rare working iron lung on display,

  • they also have 20th century recreation of an apothecary shop, and surgically removed kidney stones the size of your fist.

  • I could say it's access to amazing cultural and scientific institutions,

  • but really it's grocery stores and their diverse selection and arcade bars where I can attempt to overcome my insatiable desire for pinball.

  • That would have to be around 4.4 million years ago when early hominids stood upright and became bipedal.

  • And whether that was for freeing our arms for food- and baby-carrying purposes, wading through marshy bogs,

  • or in order to cross large distances more efficiently, perhaps it was for dancing,

  • or the romantic notion that we wanted to walk hand-in-hand with our brethren.

  • For whatever reason, it was a good thing we did, because now we can do so much more.

  • Bacon.

  • I mean, the uterus as an in-house developmental baby-making factory is pretty remarkable.

  • Probably the one where I started a Tumblr as a volunteer in a small university zoological collection

  • and it ended up resulting in a full-time job at a major institution. That was a good one.

  • Is that it exists at all.

  • Probably that sloths have unique symbiotic relationships with certain species of algae

  • that are only found growing in the microcosmic environments of their hosts' fur.

  • I mean - you guys are asking me to pick between some pretty major collections here at The Field Museum.

  • We've got 3 million pinned beetles and that doesn't include the other 9 million specimens in the insect division.

  • We've hardly talked with Janet Voight about her work with deep-sea octopuses and other invertebrates,

  • and let's not forget the major neglect to discuss molluscs on this show.

  • Seriously, we need more mollusc love on The Brain Scoop.

  • Diaphonization! Also known as clearing and staining, is a process in which a specimen is injected with enzymes that render the organs transparent.

  • Then, it's submerged in a solution of dyes that either adhere to the skeleton or the muscular system,

  • resulting in a "see-through" animal with a highlighted mobility system.

  • It is so cool.

  • We got it? [Tom] We got it!

  • Bam! [Tom] Great.

Hey everybody! Welcome to The Brain Scoop.

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Ask Emily: The Favorites Episode

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    Hhart Budha posted on 2014/06/17
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