QI (2003) s17e08 Episode Script


Welcome to QI.
Tonight CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Tonight Tonight, we will be getting quite quizzical about everything in the Q animal kingdom.
Let's meet tonight's menagerie.
The questing Phill Jupitus.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE The queenly Cariad Lloyd.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE The quasi-autonomous Daliso Chaponda.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Andan absolute quokka Alan Davies.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE And their buzzers tonight .
are a quartet of quadrupeds.
A moose in a quarry.
LONG GRUNT AND STONES CLATTER A moose in a quandary.
PUZZLED GRUN A moose in a quadcopter.
HELICOPTER WHIRS SQUEALING And a Komodo dragon in Quentin Tarantino's Jacuzzi.
- Oh, my God! Who put a - BLEEP - Komodo dragon in the pool?! Huh? CRUNCH! YELL LAUGHTER OK.
I love this.
What is blue and sounds like a whale? LAUGHTER Is it a blue whale? KLAXON CHEERING And we're off to a roaring start.
What does a whale sound like? HE SINGS LIKE A WHALE LAUGHTER They're really soothing.
You know, they have those tapes to help you get to sleep.
"Steve, how far away are you?" "1,500 miles.
" LAUGHTER "Can you hear me?" "Yes, you're sounding loud and clear!" "What are you eating?" "Plankton.
" "What colour are you?" "Blue.
" "You sound like a whale.
" Also, we don't know what it means.
It could be soothing to us, - but they're saying, "I'm choking on the plastic.
" - Yes.
Can I just remind everybody that this season is the letter Q? - Q Something - So? The Queen! Something What is blue and sounds like a whale? A quail! Yes! - A blue quail is the correct answer! - Is that? We're doing Christmas cracker jokes? We're just trying to upset Alan.
As in, what is orange and sounds like a parrot? What is orange? - A carrot.
- Oh, sorry.
LAUGHTER So, the blue quail lives in Sub-Saharan Africa.
It's one of about 40 species of quail worldwide.
Actually, only the males are blue.
Girls, they're brown with buff underparts.
LAUGHTER What did quail teach us about sex in space, do you suppose? - They sent quails up to space.
- Yes.
They could, in fact, be called the very first extraterrestrial life form.
- OK, I'm going to take a mad guess.
- Yep.
- They taught us how to be caring lovers.
- No.
Well They sent the eggs up.
They did send the eggs up.
They are the very first vertebrates to be born in space.
In zero gravity.
They went up into the Mir space station in 1990, part of the Russian programme.
They wanted to find out if quail would be a good food source for a long-term mission.
So eight of them hatched out of that lot, - but they couldn't cope with zero gravity.
- Oh! - So they simply couldn't latch on and feed themselves at all.
- Oh! What they discovered was it completely removes their sex drive.
What? Yes, entirely - going up into space.
The females stopped ovulating.
The males had reduced testosterone levels.
And both sexes exhibited an absolute apathy to mating.
LAUGHTER So, this means my girlfriend's been to space? LAUGHTER Maybe.
APPLAUSE DROWNS OUT SPEECH I'd be all right if Sandra Bullock drifted by in her underwear.
That'd be "Ooh, there's Sandra! I knew she'd be here.
" Sorry, I'm having trouble concentrating, I'm just thinking about Sandra Bullock.
But there seems to be a great deal of interest in the sex life of quails.
This is one of my favourite studies.
So, the University of Kentucky, in 2011, they received a massive grant from the National Institute of Health to study what the effect of cocaine is on the sex drive of the Japanese quail.
Everyone's just deep-frying everything LAUGHTER DROWNS SPEECH Here's something that will surprise you.
Apparently, the cocaine was linked to increased risky sexual behaviour.
"Where, I say, where's my drugs?!" You're going to love this, Alan.
I have a fact that is just for you.
The male Japanese quail, they have a gland above their sex organ This is right up your alley.
that secretes a liquid containing It has some of the same enzymes and proteins that you get in egg white, and they whip this into a stiff foam using their sphincter and then LAUGHTER Yes, imagine you're beating like this.
PHILL: No, I don't think I will.
Never, ever take a Japanese quail meringue.
And then they deposit into the female after the sperm.
- Like a dessert.
- I don't know what LAUGHTER Is it like clay to make sure it doesn't come back out? - Like a cork? - Yes.
There seems to be some advantage, but we don't know what it is, other than, I think, fun.
We've talked a lot about the male quail.
What's the most numerous undomesticated bird in the world? - Pigeon.
- Oh! KLAXON That's what I was going to say.
- Does that mean he's right? - No, he's wrong.
- Oh, he's wrong? - It means he's wrong.
- He's wrong.
- You'll hear that a lot when Alan speaks.
- OK! Chicken.
KLAXON - I told you.
- Two wrong.
So, I'm going to give you a clue.
This is one of the ways to kill it.
This is a piece of dynamite.
PHILL'S BUZZER The roadrunner.
LAUGHTER APPLAUSE Is it? Does it live in Britain? No.
Daliso is in with the best chance of knowing this, - as there are lots of these in Malawi.
- Oh, OK! - Yes? - It's weaver birds.
Qu? - Quelea.
- Weaver bird is what we call it.
- Quelea.
- Quelea.
- You're absolutely right.
It's called the red-billed quelea.
Ahh! - APPLAUSE - You should - What? - They should not be applauding these things.
- They are a menace.
- OK.
These things are like the bane of farmers.
They, like, flock and they eat, like, everything.
- They're known as feathered locusts.
- That's exactly it.
There are approximately 1.
5 billion of these birds.
So, to put that into some kind of context, the UK's most numerous bird is the wren.
There are 8.
6 million breeding pairs.
- They come in flocks of two million birds - Oh, my God.
- .
and each bird eats roughly half its own body weight a day.
- What? Are they going to eat that elephant? Is that? They're going to eat the weight of an elephant.
They can consume 20 tonnes a day, one flock, so they can absolutely decimate agriculture.
- It is an extraordinary thing.
- And getting rid of them People go through the field with, like, drums, trying to chase them away.
We don't have dynamite.
That seems like a better plan than the drums.
The drummers are like, "We might get dynamite, guys.
We might.
"We're seriously thinking about it.
" "We don't have the budget!" It's all right if you don't have the money for dynamite.
You just try and go into the field to scare them.
But they're incredibly mobile, and they'll just go on to the next field.
They do have wings, don't they? I'm afraid so.
They've tried napalm, they've tried pathogens, they've tried electronic devices, dynamite, fire-bombing What about kindness? You know, a little bit of love? A field full of Smarties and they all go over there.
No-one thinks of it.
Orjust a million cats.
Anyway, who's started waking up earlier in order to get more selfies? Hm - Is it the? - Teenagers? Teenagers? No.
They're all these young pop stars, the Kardashians and stuff, who've got selfies KLAXON Ahhh! What? What did I say? - Do I win something? - No, it's not a good thing.
- I get a buzz for saying Kim Kardashian? - Yeah, because we thought - it was predictable that somebody at some point - I'm not Kanye West! Don't get cross, Dali.
It's fine.
Remember, we're in Q and we're doing animals.
Q animals.
Q animals.
Er Qu Queenkoala.
OK, you are in the right part of the world.
Queen kangaroo.
You are in the right part of the world.
It is the world's happiest Oh, that little! With the tiny face from New Zealand! - Yes.
Aus - Australia.
The tiny happy one from Australia.
When you take a picture, he looks like he's smiling and people keep taking pictures.
It looks like he's poking his head and smiling.
It's so cute.
It is the world's happiest animal.
PHILL: Is it a quokka? Quokka.
Yes, absolutely right.
Very well Have you seen one? - What? - They're so cute! No, I haven't but I want one! They live, most of them, on a little tiny island called Rottnest, just off Perth, just off the coast of Western Australia.
- That's a great photo.
- Isn't it the cutest thing? I don't trust it.
That's like a person in a suit.
That's AUSTRALIAN ACCENT: "Have you seen the rest of the peloton?" LAUGHTER "I lost the guys completely.
" There are more than 7,400 quokka selfies, - which were posted on social media in 2018.
- That's so cute.
Helped by the fact that people like Roger Federer, the tennis player, and Margot Robbie, the actress, both did them.
- There's Roger Federer with a quokka.
AUDIENCE: Aww - And, apparently Who are you aww-ing? Roger Federer or the quokkas?! Everybody was like, "Awwmm.
" They're all on push bikes as well.
But here is the sweetest thing about them.
They're nocturnal.
But those that are on Rottnest - are now staying awake during the day - Oh, no! .
in order to spend time with the tourists! And the ones who are on the bit of the island that's highly developed for tourism are doing better than the ones in the less disturbed habitats.
No! Yeah.
Here's the thing that's slightly going to put you off - the quokka.
- Oh - Oh.
- .
does it shit in your face? LAUGHTER That would put me right off! PHILL: It's got a gland that makes a stew that you have sex with.
Do not eat their pavlovas! Not great parents, so when the female quokka becomes aware of a predator, the first thing she does is she ejects the joey from her pouch and the infant lies on the ground, making a sort of hissing noise and this distraction allows the mother to escape and leave the predator - GASPS AND LAUGHTER - Really? I mean, you say bad parent, but in a way she's smart, isn't she? LAUGHTER Quokkas get their beauty sleep at night now, so they can always look their best for a daytime selfie.
- But selfies are dangerous.
- Oh, yes, they are.
- Yes.
Many people die doing selfies.
Also, like, I was given advice by a comedian who said, "Oh, if a fan comes and they recognise you and they're excited, "maybe you should say, 'Oh, do you want a selfie?' "Cos sometimes they're too shy.
" - And I followed this advice.
- Yes.
And in Nottingham, a woman was like, "Oh, I recognise you.
" I was like, "Oh, hi.
" And I said, "Do you want a selfie?" And she said, "No, you're not the Eiffel Tower.
" LAUGHTER Now, sticking with Australian marsupials, a quoll is a squirrel-sized marsupial, OK? Let us imagine that you're hosting a barbie.
IN AUSTRALIAN ACCENT: You're in Australia and a mob of quolls turn up.
What are you going to offer them? IN AUSTRALIAN ACCENT: Straight away you give 'em a tinnie.
Then you ask 'em if they're vego.
They're not vegetarian.
But why do we have to offer them anything? We didn't invite them.
Now we're catering for everyone who turns up? Yes, so there is a reason why you want them to eat something.
- Cos they're cuter than you.
- Oh, no.
No, it's Eat that which is cuter than you.
I don't think that's a nature's rule.
What's a barbecue thing? Another barbecue thing? Burgers? Sausages? Sausages.
OK, sausages is what you need to offer them.
What kind of sausages do you think you might offer a quoll? Vegetarian sausages.
The reason we need to do this is to save them from extinction.
Their numbers have dropped dramatically and it is because partly they've been eaten by foxes and they've been eaten by cats, which were introduced by the Victorians.
But also they like to eat cane toads.
So there is a toxin in the back of a cane toad, so licking them can cause hallucinations and there are indeed Australian dogs, which are entirely addicted to doing this! LAUGHTER A labrador on a trip is a fantastic thought.
But the quolls can be killed by this poison.
So in order to educate them not to eat cane toads, they're being fed sausages made from toad mince.
They take the harmful skin off, they make the mince and they lace it with a chemical, which makes the quolls feel nauseous.
The plan is to put them off eating toad.
But I think the ones in the wild don't smell like barbecued toad! They're actually hoping now that they can drop toad sausages by helicopter LAUGHTER Just say that one more time for me! In 1935, they were brought in to sugar plantations in order to get rid of a pest, which was the cane beetle.
They brought in 102 toads.
It was a failure.
Why? IMITATES TOAD: "Hello! "I think we should definitely leave Europe.
" LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE - Why would it be a failure? - They ate other things.
- No.
So they live on the ground and beetles can fly.
- Oh, shit.
Duh! These 102 toads have grown into today's population of - 1.
5 billion toads.
- Oh, my God! And they have devastated Australia's flora and fauna.
Toads love to do it.
Oh, a female toad can have 35,000 eggs.
- What?! Yeah.
- 35,000! So here's a nice thing - apart from the toad sausages - one of the ways they're thinking now of saving the quoll is to turn them into pets.
There are people who say that you should have them instead of a cat, and, in fact, they're rather sweet.
They can be trained.
They can use a litter tray.
- They weigh about the same.
- Yeah, sweet! Really sweet! PHILL SCREECHES LAUGHTER HE SCREECHES AGAIN I don't see that working out.
If you've got your foot sticking out from under the duvet and that gets hold of you! "Ooh-ooh-ooh!" They do have the second-biggest bite force quotient.
So how hard they can bite, relative to the size, of any animal - Good for children, then! - Yeah! - .
second only to the Tasmanian devil.
- Oh, my God.
But, of course, keeping them as pets is not going to save the wild population in any way whatsoever.
Here's a fact about quolls that I love.
The breeding season only lasts for three days, during which they mate with their partner every 15 minutes for the entire duration of the three days! Yeah.
The males and the females only meet for that three-day fest.
They want to stop eating the toads and talk to them about having sex.
- Also, not great parents, these ones.
- Oh, they never are.
So what they do is they give birth to about 30 offspring, each one is the size of a grain of rice.
But the female quoll only has six nipples, so the first six who are fastest to latch on "Come on, boys! Which rice is fastest?" - LAUGHTER - It's madness.
- Like some insane reality show.
- LAUGHTER PHILL: Just sit like that in your living room.
Argh! Argh! Ah! The idea of you being a squirrel-sized marsupial! I have tremendous bite force! That's equivalent to the Tasmanian devil, which can have sex whenever it wants.
- LAUGHTER - Argh! Scientists are encouraging quolls to eat sausages rather than toads in the hole.
AUDIENCE GROANS Right, moving on.
What is wrong with this zebra? PHILL'S BUZZER Yes.
No barcode.
It's just like a mutant zebra with like half the stripes.
It's an extinct subspecies of zebra.
- Oh, someone shouted it out.
- It's a? AUDIENCE MEMBER: Quagga.
- It is a quagga, indeed.
DALISO: Wait, didn't we already? Aren't the birds the quaggas? No.
So we've had quolls and quokkas and quelea.
It's Q, darling.
There's going to be a lot of animals beginning with Q.
It just feels like Dr Seuss has moved it and started taking over.
"There's quokkas and quaggas and quails.
" CARIAD: "And all of them have the most magnificent tail!" It's an extinct subspecies of zebra, lived in southern Africa.
It was stripy, but only down to the shoulders.
It's been sort of described as a zebra who's forgotten his pyjama bottoms.
I'll tell you an interesting thing about stripes.
- I went to school in Kenya - Yeah.
- .
and we read early colonial books and they theorised, because they'd never seen any mixed-race children - Right.
- .
so they imagined that a child would be born with stripes, - if a black person and a white person - Are you kidding me?! Yeah.
No, it makes sense if you think about it.
If you've never LAUGHTER If you've never seen it, it's more logical, you know what I mean? Like, these are people who thought the world was flat, OK, but still, that's what they thought would happen.
Anyway, what I love about the quagga is it's a really good example of humans sorting out the natural world.
The quagga was made a protected species, three years after it had already become extinct.
It was given legal protection by the Cape Town government in 1886 and the last one died in an Amsterdam zoo in 1883.
So there were three years too late.
IN DUTCH ACCENT: "Wake up, Clifford, it is time for your Edam.
" - HE GASPS - "No! He's dead!" Oh Dutch zookeeper.
No, fair enough.
LAUGHTER I thought he'd be called Clifford.
Here's an interesting thing.
For a long time, Grant Museum, at the University College London, believed it owned two zebra skeletons, but they re-examined them in 1972.
They found one was a quagga and one was a donkey.
So they didn't have any zebra skeletons at all.
This is a fantastic thing.
This is the actual skeleton of the quagga.
Now, if you have a look at the back left leg, you can see that there is just a sort of a black outline.
And that is because that particular leg is missing on this quagga.
And this has an extraordinary story, and here to tell us about it is the curator of the Grant Museum, Tannis Davidson.
Hello, Tannis.
OK, first of all, can I just say, fabulous museum and a rare museum, is it not, the Grant Museum? Yes, we are the last university zoological museum in London.
And anybody can go and visit it? Yes.
We're open to the public Monday through Saturday, one til five.
So these skeletons of quaggas, how many do you think there are in the world? Well, it's one of our star specimens.
We think there's only seven quagga skeletons anywhere in the world.
- Right.
- And, as far as I know, ours is the only one with a skull.
But it's missing a leg.
What happened? Where the hell is the leg? Well, the first idea is that it had been loaned to the Royal College of Surgeons just before World War II.
And, of course, that building was bombed, so it was lost during the bombing.
Another idea was that when the specimens were evacuated to Wales, it somehow became lost.
- So it could still be in Wales? - It could be.
- OK.
And you're holding a thing here now.
- Yes.
This is what it would look like.
- This is what it looks like.
- Right.
How would you know the difference between a quagga leg and a zebra leg? - It's very difficult.
- Oh.
So if you've got one, you may think that it is, in fact, a zebra leg.
There is an idea that perhaps this might be in someone's collection, if it was lost in Wales, and maybe somebody thought it was a donkey leg - or a horse leg, so - But you could compare it to your actual skeleton - and see if it is a match? - Yes.
- If somebody found something like that - Yes.
we could, you know, slot it in perfectly and it would just all become a whole specimen again.
- OK, I feel we are the show to help you with this.
- OK.
- So This is a Quime Watch appeal.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE If anyone has any information relating to the whereabouts of this missing quagga leg, please, please, come forward.
There is a reward - an all expenses paid trip to the mountains of Kong.
Thank you.
Thank you very much, Tannis.
I love the idea somebody in Wales is going, - "I think there's one of those in the loft.
" - I know! Anyway, what is the most offensive thing anyone could do .
with this? I actually have two and it involves doing something with two.
Sandi, for me, come on, both of them.
from Walt Disney Productions So you do need both of them.
You actually have to hold them like this.
CARIAD: What, like boxing gloves? - It is exactly that - that they were used as boxing gloves.
- Ohh! PHILL: Oh! Mm, I know.
So this is a queen conch.
Actually, in the United States, it's called a konk, but the British say a conch.
So about 3,000 years ago, the Mayans used them as boxing gloves or more of a knuckle duster, possibly.
Part of the ritual worship of the rain god Chaahk.
And, ultimately, it resulted in quite a lot of blood-letting CARIAD: Yeah.
which was apparently part of the ceremony.
I don't know what they've got on their heads.
That is I would imagine if you're in a culture that's hitting each other, wearing conches as boxing gloves, you're going to invent the crash helmet, really fast.
Conch shell playing also has a tremendous tradition.
So I have put a conch beside you.
There's a tiny bit kind of cut off.
CARIAD: Whoa! And the Aztecs used to have a conch shell trumpet.
It was called a quiquiztli and the musicians who played them were called quiquizoani.
And it's thought to have had the power to defeat the Aztec lord of the dead.
LAUGHTER Are you ready? SHORT, STRAINED NOTE SHORT, STRAINED NOTE LONG, DEEP NOTE Oh, that's better! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE CARIAD: Wow! PHILL: Clifford! It's actually a wonderful noise.
CARIAD: That's amazing.
Apparently, if you move your hand in and out of the aperture, that is the way in which you get STRAINED, SHORT NOTES - ALAN SHOUTS INDISTINCTLY - Shut up, it's jazz! LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE While we are at the seaside, this is a quillback sucker and a quillback rockfish.
But the most well-known quilled animal is? The porcupine.
How does a porcupine make love? - Carefully! - Carefully.
PHILL: Carefully.
KLAXON APPLAUSE OK, two families of porcupines, there's Old World and New World.
This thing that we're looking here, North American New World porcupine.
So sex takes about a minute, all right? And the female signals her interest by urinating and screaming.
- We've all been there.
- We've all been there.
Don't want to alarm anybody, we're just about to have a look at porcupines - Is it horizontal? - Well, I'm going to show you.
PHILL: About time too! Here's the thing, so - Mating is - Yes, carry on, go on.
I'm good.
- Mating is spike free.
- Yeah, yeah.
So what happens is the female turns her back on the male, she arches her tail over her back, that's covering her quills and cushioning them Less talk, more Oh! So there she's pushing # Ow-ow-ow-owww! # Let's get it on! Let's get it o-o-on! The female looks like this when they're finished.
There we are.
LAUGHTER It looks like they've just put it under a hand-dryer! Here's a cute thing.
Baby porcupines are called porcupettes.
CARIAD: Aww! I know.
That's so cute.
PHILL: You can't do five minutes of solid filth and then do cute baby names.
I was trying to move us along.
Now, that brings us to the loving and soft environment that we call General Ignorance.
Fingers on buzzers, please.
According to the traditional proverb, what killed the cat? ALAN'S BUZZER Yes.
KLAXON APPLAUSE But that's true.
That is what it says in the proverb.
The original version, for over 260 years, was that "care killed the cat.
" Care meaning worry or sorrow.
If you know your Shakespeare, it's in Much Ado.
"What courage, man! What though care killed a cat.
"Thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.
" In the mid-19th century, care was replaced by curiosity - and we just don't know why.
- Just don't know why.
The Russian version of this phrase is, "Curious Barbara's nose was torn off at the market.
" Which I'm going to use in the future, I think it's rather better than, "Curiosity killed the cat.
" Now, how would this animal protect itself? - Er - By, oh, roll Oh, rolling into a ball.
KLAXON - Will it just lie down? - So here's the thing.
There are 18 species of armadillo.
Only two of them - the Brazilian three-banded and the southern three-banded - roll up into a ball.
I was showing you a six-banded armadillo, which does not do that.
- It rolls into a square.
- It doesn't go into a square, no.
LAUGHTER - That is the - Where's the gong? - .
You were right, Alan.
They very quickly dig a hole and get into it and just lie in it with only the armour showing.
CARIAD: Is he trying to get in that hole? Well, he's trying to dig it.
Well, there's one already in there.
Get your own hole! Plus, they have another marvellous way of escaping a predator.
- So the nine-banded armadillo can walk underwater.
- What?! So it can hold its breath for as long as six minutes, getting under the water.
It can also make itself buoyant on the water by swallowing air and inflating its stomach and intestines.
It's Jesus.
It is.
It is a fantastic thing.
Other facts about armadillos - what disease are they thought to be the only ones to get? AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Leprosy.
KLAXON Oh, that was good! - It wasn't us.
You lost points on that.
- Ha-ha-ha! Mw-ha-ha! It's not so easy, is it? It's hard! It's difficult.
They can get leprosy, but so can mice and rats.
And, in fact, a 2016 study found that one third of red squirrels in Britain carry leprosy.
PHILL: Oh! Where's your tail? It's the most appealing thing about me.
Now I'm just a hamster.
- Now, the scores.
- Oh, really? The top dog with -5 .
is Daliso.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE And second place with -6, it's Phill.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE - Actually, you're tied, you and Cariad, also -6.
So - Aww! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Which means, in third place with -10 .
it's the audience.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE You've outdone yourself.
In final place, it's Alan.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE So it's thanks to Daliso, Phill, Cariad and Alan.
And I leave you with this quick quotation from The Porcupine Poem by Ogden Nash.
Any hound a porcupine nudges Can't be blamed for harbouring grudges I know one hound that laughed all winter At a porcupine that sat on a splinter.
Thank you.
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