Chicago Adventure, Part Five: The Platypus, The Skin, & The Cold

Chicago Adventure, Part Five: The Platypus, The Skin, & The Cold


The Chicago Field Museum is one of the largest and most respected natural history museums in the world. Join me as we go behind the scenes! Dun dun dun! There it is.
– Pull that drawer open. I’m scared. Oh my gosh. Why did nature- Wha- AGH! He has eyes on him! Oh my gosh! Why? Ooh, weiird. Is this the mandible? What are these teeth?! They don’t even go- They go out the wrong way! This is so weird! Oh my gosh! Why did they- Why are they dipped in? Why aren’t they- Why don’t they go out? Why don’t they have cusps? I don’t know. Does any- of- wha- Why? Look at this thing. Oh my- It looks like a- an insect. I don’t even understand why its teeth look like this. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t understand. I cannot compute this. Like- th- uh, it looks so weird. And you know about the spines, right? Yeah, they have poisonous spines. Yeah, there you go. What. What? In its feet?
– See ’em? Right there. Ohhh. What! Ew, weird! Look at that! What kind of, uh, venom…
– So venom is produced in the gland there and then travels along the spine and the current thinking is that it helps to keep other males at bay. But there’s still so much we don’t know
– Crazy. about these animals. This is why we have the specimens here, so that you and I can test different hypotheses about the function, the form and the evolution of some of the most beautiful creatures on Earth. I just don’t even understand why everybody isn’t a platypus scientist. Because they’re the craziest things I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t even- And people often- They get the idea that the duck bill is quite hard. Yeah. It’s stiff now but in life, it’s actually quite leathery and soft.
– It’s rubbery. Yeah. There’re a lot of nerves running between those teeth and the nas- and the beak there that, um, are, how they are sensing the invertebrates that are in the mud. I don’t even understand. I’m holding a platypus right now. And it’s… got eyes and it’s looking at me and it’s… happy. I don’t know. So, some skins are too big to keep in the drawers with everybody else, so we have these three giant skin refrigerators Okay. and this is where we store, um…
– Whoa. Pulling out the key. It’s very serious in here. I can imagine why. Whoooa. WHOOOOA. It’s like our cold room except huge! These are amazing. You have grizzlies! You have polar bears! So, people, uh, people- rich folk, who’ve got rugs,
– Yeah. they’re like, you know, ‘I don’t need this anymore’, so they donate rugs, so we’ve got these, like, modified, like,
– Oh my gosh. polar bear rugs.
– Huge. Is that a panda? It is a panda.
– That’s a panda! You have pandas! Dogs? German shepherd, St. Bernard…
– Ew! Weird. I guess, I mean you gotta save ’em.
– Yeah. You have like sloths and weird things in here, tanned hides… African lion.
– 1935. Whoa. Which if you think about it doesn’t really seem that long ago to contribute these things. 1905.
– No. And you can see, like, their- where they- they were shot. Yeah.
– Like you can see the holes. Wow.
– It’s- They’re such gorgeous specimens. That is so cool. That is so space age. So, uh, this is DNA from what exactly? These are all tissue samples of amphibians and reptiles.
– Okay. And how many can fit in one of these containers? Usually there are a hundred tissue vials in a box. In one of those?
– In one of these. Okay. See, there’s that little grid.
– Yeah. So 1 to 100. And then we have 13 boxes in every rack. So 1,300. And then we have 54 racks. I’m not that good at math.
– About 70,000 vials. Really?
– Yes. Yes. 70,000 in each one of the tanks.
– Yes. That’s a lot of vials. It is. So that’s why we have to be really well organized.
– Yeah. Well org- well organized and, um, it looks like it’s kind of dangerous. Well if you’re not wearing gloves it’s dangerous. Yeah. I mean, those are some pretty heavy duty gloves. It’s really cool. And so, you today, um, take tissue samples from every specimen that comes in now? Every new one? We like to have tissue samples of everything if possible. Okay.
– We actually just got a collection in from Honduras today and everything came with a tissue sample.
– Ooo. Oh, so it’s kinda becoming standard practice for natural history museums to just keep parts of DNA.
– Yes. Well, it’s really important that they collect a tissue sample before they pickle it. Oh, okay.
– Because the formalin mangles the DNA. Yeah.
– Yeah, destroys the DNA. That’s wonderful. And, so, potentially, with having the DNA sample, what are- what- what’re you gonna do with it now? Just hold on to it and see what science-
–The sky’s the limit. Yeah?
– I mean, we’re pretty much a lending library of genetic material. So, if someone is doing a research project, um, as long as it looks legit and we have enough sample, we’ll send it to them. That’s awesome. That’s really fascinating.

100 Replies to “Chicago Adventure, Part Five: The Platypus, The Skin, & The Cold”

  1. I must be weird. I was expecting human skin in the skin room. I would normally call furry skins, pelts.

  2. all of the chicago videos were shot on the same day so she didn't have time to process everything until much later. also the collections are just amazing and extensive and so detailed and GAH

  3. She is a walking quote machine, every other sentence she says is hilarious and I'm not even sure she realises ^^

  4. Don't worry those episodes will come back sooner or later but for now enjoy her freak-out-episodes cause it's both cool and fun to see a nerd exited and amazed.

  5. Emily, i love your videos they are informational funny and just very happy i looooooooooooove your videos 🙂

  6. I agree, but this is still just from the trip, hopefully, now that she's been hired, the normal kind of video will return.

  7. Only in marathoning all of the episodes of the Brain Scoop did I realize that all of Michael's descriptions of Heather Hsu's donation differ slightly each time. However, they are always ridiculously perky

  8. Bill Stanley is kinda creepy. I can't wait till Emily goes home and gets on with the Brain Scoop, Montana style. I'm over the Chicago museum and the creepy guy. Just my opinion. Whatevs. :-

  9. They gave her a job at the museum so she can continue making her videos there. She's already moved to Chicago.

  10. maybe i'm just having a bad day, but emily's constant "quirky" exclamations of bewilderment in this chicago series have lost their charm at this point for me. overload.

  11. But this is more of a special. Hence why it's being shown in parts, instead of labeled as just normal episodes. I'm sure the 'normal' Brainscoop scheduled episodes will return shortly.

  12. Well nowadays Emily has got a real job with a salary doing PR for the Field and she works in a place she's getting to know rather than a place where she is an expert. Which is the UMZM's loss but that's largely the fault of the taxpayers and legislature of Montana.

  13. Emily lives in Chicago now. There's gonna be a "new normal" established but we're not gonna see any more of the wolf, e.g. Basically we can blame the taxpayers and legislature of Montana for not funding any full time positions at the UMZM.

  14. I'm an animal rights activist and I have zero problems with this video, in fact, I love these videos and find them fascinating. I think I know why you would think animal activists would hate this video, but if you caught what they were saying while talking about the skins, The Field Museum (and UMZM) get their specimens from donations and other methods other than killing them for collection, such as people donating animal pelt rugs and animals who were accidentally shot.

  15. If you ask me, the animal is already dead, you might as well use them for something educational and beneficial. I think it would be a great injustice to not have amazing museums and collections like The Field Museum and UMZM exist. But yes, I'm sure the less rational animal rights activists *cough*PETA*cough* would have a fit over this.

  16. Hundreds of thousands of DNA samples, all cryogenically preserved in a "lending library for genetic material"? That just sounds futuristically awesome.

  17. Its all about competition among males! The tapir is at this point a hilarious example of this phenomenon, but it is in fact relatively common. It was advantageous for the tapir with the longest penis because his sperm would get to the females eggs quicker in the case of multiple copulations. Another example of a comically large penis is the Argentine blue-bill duck.
    Humans didn't need to develop something like this, due to our somewhat complex mating rituals as it is. All that love and whatever.

  18. Yeah, but bald buddy (Bill Stanley) is actually really interesting, funny, and very knowledgeable too! And I find that Emily compliments it by asking (albeit excited) educated questions. I think these videos are still just as good as they were, because I am still interested and learning something new.

  19. Half of the reason I've been watching these is Emily fan-girling dead stuff. The other half is my of the fan-girling dead stuff. =D

  20. thats not really fair. i mean, i think this series was meant to be more of a visit or "walk" through the museums collection, and less of a scientific explanation of it's contents.

  21. Don't worry, she'll reach equilibrium soon, after the situation gets–HOLY SHISH KABOB THOR'S HERO SHREW?!?!???

  22. Despite that, I think it'll eventually wear off a bit. Imagine you were suddenly introduced to a ton of new stuff in your field and essentially told to go nuts. This was kind of like art school for me at first, but eventually it wore off and I got down to it. The videos still are informative to a degree. 🙂

  23. Y'know, it never occurred to me that a platypus would have teeth. But when I actually stopped to think about it, why wouldn't they have teeth? Why have I never really thought about that before? Thank you Brain Scoop, for making me think! Sometimes.

  24. Hey. No need to be bitter. Emily took up this position herself, it's her dream. While I'm going to miss the old format, we should all – in my opinion – happily brace ourselves for the new content in the coming weeks. It's still The Brainscoop, no matter where it may be.

  25. Hey. No need to be bitter. Emily took up this position herself, it's her dream. While I'm going to miss the old format, we should all – in my opinion – happily brace ourselves for the new content in the coming weeks. It's still The Brainscoop, no matter where it may be.

  26. so say someone wanted to get a DNA sample sent to them – do you just, like stick it in an envelope and call it a day? or does it have to get sent frozen? Are there special cryogenic transport packages? can you fit it in a PO box? how legit is legit enough to get DNA samples sent to you? 

  27. I love that Emily walking into the skin fridge has the same reaction that so many girls I went to school with had when walking into a boutique. Way more worthwhile to geek out over natural history.

  28. I love that we get to see so much that is normally hidden. It makes you really appreciate all the work that has to happen, and it shows how it is a labor of love.

  29. behind the seins don don don!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. Man how many episodes did Heather Shu donate too? Love it though, it's good that the channel is getting funding because I wouldn't want it to be gone anytime soon

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