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May 22, 2024 70 mins

These animals have figured out how to treat their own ailments with the medicine available to them in their habitats. Plus, what can we learn from animals about human medicine? Discover this and more as we answer the age old question, does swallowing a rough leaf a day keep Doctor Zaius away? 

Guest: Dr. Kaveh Hoda

Source for last week's mystery animal sound: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/v_rSygXA1lw

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:08):
Welcome to Creature feature production of iHeartRadio. I'm your host
of Many Parasites, Katie Golden. I studied psychology and animal biology,
and today on the show we're talking about zoe pharmacognosi.
It's a mouthful for saying animals heal thyselves. These animals
have figured out how to treat their own ailments with

(00:29):
the medicine available to them in their habitats. Plus what
can we learn from animals about human medicine? Dis Cover
this and more as we answer the age old question
does swallowing a rough leaf a day keep? Doctor zayis away.
Joining me today is host of the podcast The House
of Pod Doctor cave Hodo. Welcome.

Speaker 2 (00:50):
Oh my goodness, thank you so much. I am so excited.
Can we first address that you are the host of
Many Parasites? Can we talk about what's happening with you?

Speaker 1 (00:58):
Yeah, so it's nothing on uh, sort of the norm, right,
No normal amounts of parasites, No tapeworms, as far as
I'm aware, probably plenty of demodex. Now, some might argue
that demodex are mutualistic, not parasiites. I disagree. I think
they are probably you know a little bit parasitic.

Speaker 2 (01:22):
No, tenuous solum in your brain though.

Speaker 1 (01:25):
Not that I'm aware of. But it could be that
I have a lot of it, and yet it is
sort of a messing with my ability to recognize.

Speaker 2 (01:35):
You're doing very well, then, yeah, if you do have
neurosister psychosis, you're you're holding up very well, my friend.

Speaker 1 (01:42):
I'm going to pretend I know what that is and
say I don't have it.

Speaker 2 (01:46):
Good, Okay. This is a reference to the recent finding
of a worm in RFK juniors. Yes, which, if there,
it might be a ten solo. That's that's probably the
pork larvae tapeworm. Right, it's hard to say.

Speaker 1 (02:05):
It's it's not usually in the brain, right, it usually
is it? Is it a typical gut parasite or is
this like a miss kind of case where it's not
supposed to be in there at all?

Speaker 2 (02:17):
No, you could get it in the brain. In fact,
neurosister circosis is not an uncommon, totally uncommon cause of
adult onset seizures. It doesn't happen. No, I'm not a
fan of it either. We don't see a lot of
it here in the United States. I mean, it's in
places where the food regulation might be a little different.
So it's not very common finding here at all.

Speaker 1 (02:41):
Okay, that that's that's good, I guess. So the idea
is that RFK when he was going around trying to
convince other countries not to do vaccines, he did get
a little bit of maybe the brain worms from the
water or something. Is that the idea.

Speaker 2 (02:57):
I like to think that the g of the eighty
three Samoans that died because of his influence going anti
vax had somehow haunted him with a worm in his brain.

Speaker 1 (03:11):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (03:11):
I have no proof of that, but in my heart
I believe it.

Speaker 1 (03:14):
You know, sometimes science has to give way to just hope.
And I also hope that it was bingeful ghosts of
people killed by anti vax nonsense that got him that
worm in the brain. And it's it is funny because
it's like, I don't know, maybe it was an improvement
on his personality. Usually the worm in the brain precedes

(03:36):
the strange behavior, but I think that was before the enwormination.

Speaker 2 (03:41):
Yeah. No, I don't know if that's a word, but
I like it.

Speaker 1 (03:45):
You know your doctors, so you probably would know if
that's the word.

Speaker 2 (03:50):
You know what it is.

Speaker 1 (03:51):
It is now it is now we've just done it.

Speaker 2 (03:55):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (03:55):
So yeah, today we are actually talking about animal who
practiced medicine on themselves. I mean, I'm sure you worked
very hard going to medical school, residency, all these things now.

Speaker 2 (04:11):
But you know I got through with a lot of
charming charisma. Yeah, I'm totally honest. It wasn't that much work.

Speaker 1 (04:17):
That would you say? The number one skill you need
is just not sleeping?

Speaker 2 (04:22):
Oh that really helps. If you can find ways to
not sleep, you will do much better in medicine. That's correct.

Speaker 1 (04:29):
Yep, natural and healthy. So yes, there's recent news that
an orangutan was observed healing a wound on his face
using plant medicine. So this was an observational case study
published recently in the journal Nature titled Active Self Treatment

(04:50):
of a facial Wound with a biologically active plant by
a male Sumatran Orangutan by lommer at All at the
Max Plunk Institute of Animal Behavior. So essentially, these researchers
saw an orangutan get a pretty gnarly like wound gash

(05:10):
on his face and then he tried to treat it
with plants. So this was an orangutan in Sorry South
et Cha Indonesia, and he would chew up the leaves
of the acrcooning plant and then sort of smear the
juices into the wound, which sounds really pleasant. And then

(05:31):
it would take the chewed up leaves and then kind
of like put that on top and cover up the wounds.
And then after you know, several weeks, it seemed like
the wound healed pretty well. And the interesting thing is
that the leaves of this plant have not only been
used in traditional medicine, but they also have these compounds

(05:53):
that are believed to have some antibiotic, pain relieving, anti fungal,
anti inflammatory properties. So it would appear, if this observation
is correct, that this orangutan selected these this leaf which
specifically may be better than any average leaf at helping

(06:14):
heal a wound and putting it on this facial wound
that he sustained.

Speaker 2 (06:20):
If I may ask the question I'll probably ask like
thirty times in this episode, is is there a belief
that this was a thought process that the orangutang, which,
by the way, I love orangutangs. They're adorable. They're stars
of some of my favorite movies in the eighties. If
like the orangutang did this on purpose because they knew

(06:45):
that this was a healing salve or something, or if
there's some sort of evolutionary thing where it's like orangutangs
happened to like the feeling. Some orangutangs developed this sensation
they like to have a on their face and it
feels good for them. They don't know why they're doing it,
but the ones that did it tended to be healthier

(07:07):
and live longer to pass on their genetics like natural
selection type stuff. I mean, does this seem like the
renda tank knew what it was doing? Is my question.

Speaker 1 (07:17):
I mean, this is an extremely good question, and it's
kind of what we're trying to get behind today, like
get to the root of and it's really hard to answer.
The short answer is nobody knows, not yet anyways. But
the long answer is that this is not the first

(07:38):
case of apes seeming to use medicine. This is the
first like modern like sort of recorded observation of an
ape or an animal applying like a salve to a wound. Now,
there could have been a lot of prior observations that
just by locals that you know, were in Nature journal, right,

(08:02):
But the other observations have been of apes doing this
behavior called leaf swallowing, where instead of chewing up a leaf,
they like roll it up or fold it and then
swallow it whole, which seems odd because by doing that
they're not actually getting much of the nutritional benefit of

(08:25):
the leaf. They're already leaves are already extremely fibrous, it's
very difficult to digest, so chewing the leaves is a
bit of predigestion that helps them process the leaves, so
swallowing it whole and then it comes out basically whole
in their poop. So it's a really odd behavior. And
so when researchers looked into it further examined the poop
of these like chimpanzees, gorillas, or ringutans who did this behavior,

(08:52):
they found that the poop would often contain parasites, so
like you'd find a tape form or nematode parasites in
the feces, and various research would find that there would
be more expelling of these parasites, like in feces that
had poop are well, feces generally contains poop, and poop

(09:13):
that had leaves in it, it also would have a
higher rate of these parasites in it. So the idea
is that these leaves, which are usually really rough textured
leaves not very pleasant to eat, necessarily are just because
it's so rough and kind of like scratchy, almost a
little abrasive when it'd go through the intestines, it would

(09:35):
like physically scrape out some of the parasites that these
apes would have.

Speaker 2 (09:42):
That is fascinating. But okay, so I guess the question
is and I don't know how you do studies on apes.
I only know limited amounts of how you do research
on humans, but like, were they able to like ever
be like, Okay, we know that the ape a has
a parasitic infection because we tested their stool all and
we know that ab does not, and we saw that

(10:05):
more likely it was a a that would do this.
Is that or do they all kind of just do
it right like every now and then just swallow a
leaf like that?

Speaker 1 (10:14):
This is the perfect question and it's one that I
I had as well, and I was frustrated because I
couldn't find any like really good studies of like we
have a healthy h chimpanzee that has no parasites, and
a chimpanzee with parasites, and we put these an array
of leaves, which ones do they select? There's no study

(10:34):
like that, right, I mean probably violates a lot of
ethics because like to infect a champanzee with intestinal parasites.
I don't know, but there's a lot of weird research.
So but no, I couldn't. I mean, perhaps such as
the study exists, I couldn't find it, So I suspect
it's a precise study like that has not existed. There's

(10:57):
been a study where they found that there's more leaf
swallowing in a chimpanzee colony that is closer to human farms,
and it's speculated that there's more incidence of parasitism in
these apes because there's more sort of like with more
human activity, there's more parasites, and so maybe these chimpanzees

(11:18):
are getting more parasites and so doing more leaf swallowing.
But that's there's so many confounding factors. There could be
that they are there's not enough food in these areas
for these apes, and so they're resorting more to swallowing
leaves just to feel full, even if it's not as
nutritionally beneficial. So the unsatisfying answer is that. No, there

(11:41):
has not been, to my knowledge, any studies that have
shown directly that a sick chimpanzee knows to have this
plant to settle its stomach, or if it's something they
do sort of just like you know, as a preventive thing,
not knowing that it's necessarily preventing, uh, parasitism, but just

(12:01):
they do it routinely, or whether they do it when
they have a stomach ache and they're not feeling well.
I don't know that there's Yeah.

Speaker 2 (12:11):
It makes I could see that last one making sense.
I mean, when we talk about apes, it makes a
lot more sense to me than if it was like
a dog or something. But let me ask you another question.
Do you have the same fear that I do, which
is like, if this gets out, this news becomes more prominent,
it's only a matter of time before there's some Instagram

(12:32):
influencer saying swallow folded up leaves in your gi track,
and then we get like bezors in people's stomachs because
they're listening to some terrible influencer online. I mean, it's
gonna happen.

Speaker 1 (12:49):
Yeah, we're gonna talk about how later in the show,
we're gonna talk about how to actually use inspiration from
nature to make like medicine that is safe and effective.
But yeah, you don't want to just see what the
chimpanzee is doing and be like, well that's gonna work
for me, because we're different animals, we have different constitutions. Also,

(13:10):
modern humans have typically much better outcomes than say a
wild chimpanzee. So it's not like the chimpanzee is choosing
between this leaf and a pharmacy with uh, with medicines
that have been tested for efficacy and safety. All they
got is leaves. So it's understandable for them to do it. Yeah,
but yeah, things it is. There is just a common

(13:33):
thing of like, well it's natural and it works for chimpanzees,
And it's like, you know what else chimpanzees do. They
eat their own poop sometimes. Do you want to do that?

Speaker 3 (13:41):
Yes, there are people on line that want to do that.
Once a month, there's somebody online who's like promoting drinking
their own urine. No, and like the health benefits of that,
and someone will tag me in that, and I'm like,
please stop tagging me in the videos of people drinking

(14:02):
their own urine.

Speaker 2 (14:03):
I don't at this point I'm like, fine, fine, urine,
just don't give it to kids.

Speaker 1 (14:10):
There are iCal transplants, but you don't. It's not just
eating the poopoo.

Speaker 2 (14:15):
It's a very very.

Speaker 1 (14:16):
Specific process of eliminating the dangerous aspects of the poop,
because if you just inject poop into you, you just
get sepsis exactly true.

Speaker 2 (14:26):
And it's done usually via colonoscopy. They'll go in, you
do a prep, you're all go through that whole process,
and then they put in this, you know, medically clarified
stool mixture. So yeah, I mean, uh, it's a weird.
It's a weird job. It's a weird job. I have

(14:47):
a weird job.

Speaker 1 (14:49):
But yeah, I mean I think that it's Yeah, there
is a big difference between like taking inspiration from nature
and investigating these things and just being like, I've seen
an animal do this, so I'm just gonna eat it.
But I think there is, especially in the US now,
which it's very hard for me to explain these issues

(15:09):
to my new European friends, but it's like when you
tell people that something is definitely not safe to do,
they're like, I'm gonna do that thing right now. Like
with the with the eight five in one milk. It's
just like, just like, I need the raw milk now,
because you're telling me it's not safe.

Speaker 2 (15:30):
Yeah, right, state, right, come on, I'm America.

Speaker 1 (15:35):
So it's very concerning that the trust in public health
is at a point where it's like, guys, just please
don't drink raw milk, and people are panic buying raw
milk to get get it before it's gone.

Speaker 2 (15:47):
I guess thank you for saying that. Thank you, thank you.

Speaker 1 (15:52):
It's not good. So anyways, yes, I am definitely not
saying that you should eat scratchy leaves and potentially create
micro tears in your colon. Don't do that. We have
better stuff for curing stomach ailments. Yeah, it is. It
is really interesting because when like if you look at

(16:12):
some of the compounds in the plant that the right,
not the not the leaf swallowing chimpanzees, but the uh,
the rington who put the chewed up leaf on his wound.
It's like, uh, they it had these like specific things
which I'm gonna really try to pronounce this and it's
not gonna be good, but here we go, uh, ferano

(16:35):
dite terpenoids and proto berberine alkaloids that you know, apparently
like on their own they have some good like anti inflammatory,
anti fungal effects, and so that it's very interesting that
it's like it is using this leaf that cannot emphasize enough.

(16:58):
Don't just go around to leaves putting it on your wounds.
It's not gonna be great. But this ringutan does not
have access to a hospital for orangutans, so this is
what it's.

Speaker 2 (17:10):
Got to do. I would watch that show though, the
Ingtang Hospital. I would if that was like the soap opera,
I would watch that every day.

Speaker 1 (17:20):
What if that? Because you know how like it was
sort of funny how Scrubs was the most accurate doctor show.
But then like what if a ring atan er Oh
sorry no? Or oh are a tan?

Speaker 2 (17:35):
Right?

Speaker 1 (17:36):
Or oh are and get u tan. We're gonna we're
gonna workshop this.

Speaker 2 (17:40):
And make this happen. Oh I love it. But it's
like really realistic, Like so it's like it's like two
ringgatank sing in a room talking about like acid base values.
Like do you like the details of the really boring stuff.

Speaker 1 (17:54):
There's like no drama. Yeah, it's just like it's just
sort of normal, like uh, hospital stuff, which I'm sure
there's some drama, but it's extremely realistic. It's just everyone
is a nerangutan.

Speaker 2 (18:05):
Yeah, it's like finding like a insurance to cover things
like pain. By the way, thank you for I do
agree with you. We've actually talked about this on the show.
It had like a you know, a screenwriter, come on.
We've had like on a couple of episodes we talked
about like what movies are our shows are most accurate.
And I do think Scrubs is. I mean it it

(18:26):
speeds things up and it simplifies things in a way
you have to for TV. But the pathos of it,
like how it gets like the day daily routine of
medicine correct is really good and I think it is
probably the best in that category for that.

Speaker 1 (18:42):
This is this is what I've heard. I haven't spent
a single day of my life as a doctor, so
I wouldn't know personally, but you know, I have been
you know, among doctors or or at a hospital, and
it doesn't seem like everyone's just running around, you know,
crying or making out all the time. So yeah, I
mean it does seem pretty realistic. And you know, so

(19:07):
uh I am I am calling copyright on the earringatan
show idea, nobody's steal it. It's gonna be gonna be
a big hit.

Speaker 2 (19:15):
Uh.

Speaker 1 (19:16):
But yeah, in terms of your question about like whether
is this just like a sort of like to what
extent is this behavior something like is it instinctive? Is
it just doing it because like they have like a
tummy ache or pain and they know from experience that
this kind of like helps. Uh, it's really hard to
make that determination. But there have been studies that try

(19:37):
to find out, like how these these behaviors even start
in the first place, and studies that kind of look
at captive chimpanzees compared to like wild chimpanzees, they find that, uh,
there are cases where captive chimpanzee will spontaneously start, you know,
trying things like leaf swallowing. So but they're not that

(20:00):
many of them, so like a small number, like maybe
one out of a group of like twenty might like
start spontaneously swallowing leaves without having learned it. But then
when you expose a group of naive chimpanzees to an
older female who knows how to do this and then
starts doing it, they start to do it at this
high rate. So it seems like it's this combination of

(20:21):
like some of them kind of have the ability to
sort of innovate and go, like, I'm wondered what it'd
be life if I, like if I tried swallowing this
leaf whole, because when I chew it feels unpleasant, but
when I swallow it whole, it feels kind of nice.
But they're not that many of those. But then the
other ones learn from those like kind of individuals who

(20:41):
tend to be the ones that are more maybe a
little more curious, a little more innovative. So it seems
to be that there is a sort of a combination
of like this instinctive like curiosity about things, of trying things,
trying to consume them, and learning from others.

Speaker 2 (20:59):
Uh.

Speaker 1 (20:59):
It's still not clear whether they're doing it in response
to having a tummy ache. I highly doubt they would
have an understanding of intestinal parasites. I think the extent
to it would be I have a tummy ache. When
I swallow this plant, it feels better, And I think
that's I think that's very probable. It's definitely not been proven,

(21:21):
though that makes.

Speaker 2 (21:23):
Sense to me. I guess my basic lack of understanding
and I apologize is I wasn't even really aware that
apes could teach each other stuff. I know they could
learn stuff, but I didn't know if that was like
a common finding that like a mother ape could teach
a baby ape something and they would be able to
Has that been proven?

Speaker 1 (21:44):
Yeah?

Speaker 2 (21:45):
Can they teach each other sign language? I know they
can learn sign language?

Speaker 1 (21:49):
Right, yes, they probably could. And I think that there's
like I don't know that that's been shown specifically with
sign language, but I think in a different like it was.
I think these were bonobos that were being taught lexigrams,
like not sign language, but like you know, pointing to

(22:09):
various lexigrams. And I'm trying to remember the specific case,
but I think it was like this younger bonobo who
was like the son of an older one who had
learned this, learned it really well, like learned it a
lot better after being not only exposed to human tutors,
but also to like previous older bonobos who had learned this.

(22:33):
So and then there's also tons of instances observed cases
in nature, so like even like macaques, Japanese macaques learned
from what researchers believe is like a single female who
learned how to wash yams in seawater, not to clean it,
but to get the salt on it, which improved the

(22:55):
flavor and introduced some nutritious salt to their diet. And
so like once she started doing it, it passed on
sort of like wildfire throughout these macaques. And so then
there are these these macaque troops that learned from her
how to wash these well season They learned how to
season their food with salt. Yeah, and then there's like

(23:19):
there's like culture in terms of urutans, there's different like
nest building techniques because they learn that from their mothers,
and so different regions with different groups of urnatans will
have different methods of different construction methods used to build
these nets, different construction methods used to build these nests.

(23:41):
So yeah, I think it's I think it's pretty settled
that there's definitely learning that's happening and learning from generation
to generation, and so I think it is. It's just
it would be so interesting to me if we could
isolate whether they have learned how to use this medicine
for like tummy aches when they have them, how that's taught.

(24:06):
And so that's why this new observation with the seringutan
is so exciting because it's like clearly directed towards this wound. Right,
it's not just like randomly rubbing something. He's putting it
specifically on this spot that's bothering him. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (24:20):
No, I think it's fun and it's kind of the
question for me is that, like, is there like if
an ape swallows it? Was it because a long time
ago there was an ape who had some genetic predisposition
that made him like the taste of swallowing it, and
then turns out he was healthier. But either way, Like,
I think this is really fascinating. And then I mean,
you're probably gonna get to it, but I have thoughts

(24:42):
about how this might affect humans. I'm sure we're going
to talk about this later in the episode, but I
think this is a very interesting thing to monitor. I mean,
because I don't know this realm of science that well.
Is our studies like this really common? Or is it
hard to study aipes because there we don't have that

(25:03):
many in captivity and we don't have the numbers or
the money or the interest in doing it. How how
are studies like this done? Yeah?

Speaker 1 (25:11):
I think I think that the interest in it is high,
but the difficulty is also extremely high. So the expense,
the difficulty, Uh, the ethics as well, because a lot
of these a lot of these primates you know, are
not you know, they are in vulnerable positions, like irengutans
are very vulnerable. So if you wanted to go out

(25:34):
and capture a bunch of ringutans so that you could
have them in a controlled environment, it would be very
un ethical and you'd be breaking a bunch of conservation
laws right, right, So it is very difficult, I think,
to do these studies.

Speaker 2 (25:47):
It's all observational I guess.

Speaker 1 (25:49):
Yeah, and observation in the wild that might seem easier,
but first like being able to observe these animals who
are very cautious, right for good reason, because they do
often come into conflict with humans that can end up
killing them. So they're very private, very cautious, very so

(26:09):
that it's hard to observe these behaviors because they're so secretive.
And so the fact that we just have this documented
observation again, like it's very possible locals have noticed this
behavior before, right, they just didn't get their findings published
in Nature. So it's like but the reason maybe this

(26:32):
behavior is more common, but we wouldn't necessarily know. It's
actually why one of the largest animals, well the largest
animal in the world, blue whales, right, we know so
little about them, which is weird because it's like, well,
they're so big, we should know everything about them, but
we can't study them very easily because to get to

(26:52):
where they are is very difficult to sort of follow
them and observe them in their natural environment, very difficult
to study them. How do you do an autopsy on
a blue whale? How do you do an MRI of
a blue whale? It's it's extremely difficult. So it's like,
there are these animals that are that are a huge
feature of our world, right, and then it's so hard

(27:15):
to study them. And I think that is the case
with a lot of great apes. We do a lot
of studies on primates in general, right, like Reese's monkeys,
there are tons of studies on them. Smaller, smaller primates
can be more closely studied, but yeah, I think for
things like gorillas, for chimpanzees, for orient Tan's, it is

(27:38):
even bonobo's, Like there there are a lot of studies,
but it's really hard to do studies, say on like
an actual social group of them, which is why, like
Jane Goodall had to kind of go undercover for so
long just to get this information on chimpanzees.

Speaker 2 (27:58):
Well, okay, I hate to jump ahead because you might
already be planned to discuss this. But since you brought
up like whales, are there examples of marine animals like
dolphins really intelligent and we know are really intelligent doing
anything similar. I'm sure it's much much harder to observe
those things. But are there examples of other animals other
than apes doing this sort of stuff? Oh?

Speaker 1 (28:20):
Absolutely, I mean you've probably even like if you have
a dog or cat, you know that sometimes they'll eat
grass right to make themselves throw up. That's a that's
a form of self medication. There's a lot of self medication.
And in terms of marine animals, it seems to be
that dolphins will do things like use I don't know

(28:42):
if this is necessarily self medication rather than like self protection,
but they'll like use a sponge, a sea sponge to
protect their nose when they're rooting around, say in some
really like sharp like areas where it's like sandy. But
then there's a lot of coral, so maybe it's sharp.
So if they're rooting around for food there, they want
to like a nose protection because otherwise they're gonna get

(29:03):
little cuts on their nose. They've also they've also been
observed sort of like like slightly chewing sort of on
like certain like fish or marine animals that are have
a like a neurotoxin. But if it's only imbibed a
little bit, it can kind of get you high. Uh,

(29:25):
dogs have been absorbed like licking coads.

Speaker 2 (29:28):
Bumper for those animals that are used just to get
high for their animals.

Speaker 1 (29:34):
No, I know, it's kind of weird. It's gotta be
weird to have like a dolphin like chew on you
or nuzzle you because it's trying to get high. But yeah,
I mean it is. It is harder, I think, in
general to observe dolphins and whales, and so they may
be doing very complicated self medication that we don't really understand.

(29:55):
But we're gonna take a quick break and when we
get back, we're gonna answer the question of whether you
actually need to be smart to do medicine. Oh, I'll
answer that right now, all right, So I don't mean
this as a jab at you. But the question of like,
do you need to be intelligent to use medicine to

(30:18):
self medicate, and interestingly, in the animal world, the answer
seems to be no. So like it makes sense that
maybe a chimpanzee or a dolphin or an elephant might
learn how to use things from their habitat to self medicate,
to treat themselves to do something that feels good, and

(30:39):
then maybe they learn it from their parents. Maybe it's
trial and error. But there are animals that are just
like don't They come with sort of a set of
pre programmed instructions and they are able to do relatively
complex and intelligent things without having much of a cognitive landscape.

(31:02):
So we are talking about fruit flies, which are fascinating
little animals, but I wouldn't give them the award for
like smartest animal.

Speaker 2 (31:13):
I've never seen any work of art that they've created.
I think they're probably not that smart.

Speaker 1 (31:18):
Smear on window it is is a famous.

Speaker 2 (31:23):
One, but that's also because it's probably some squash them,
so it's probably the human that squashed them. But real quick,
before we get to that, you mentioned the dog and
the cat before and how they would eat the grass,
and I love dogs and cats. I like cats in particular,
I'm a cat guy, but I don't I would never

(31:45):
put their intelligence on the level of an ape. It's
harder for me to believe they're eating grass to throw
up like a kitty epicac if they if, I find
it hard to believe that they're doing that purposely.

Speaker 1 (31:59):
I mean. So, it's interesting because in terms of dog
and cat intelligence, dogs have been a lot of our
understanding of dogs have kind of changed in a lot
of like you know how we were talking about the
difficulty of using apes in studies. There's this sort of
movement to use more dogs and fewer apes in studies

(32:21):
because it's more ethical. And also we're finding a lot
about dog intelligent that they are a lot smarter than
they appear to be. When they like run into the
room for food and then slam into a wall because
they ran too fast, they seem very dumb. But they
actually do seem to have a lot of intelligence, especially
given that they co evolved with us, that it seems

(32:42):
that they have kind of been selected for some social intelligence,
so they're not they don't seem to be on the
same level as like primates, like great apes in terms
of tool use things like that, but their social intelligence
is actually relatively high in terms of specifically grass eating.

(33:03):
It's interesting because like it is true that like, uh,
they may sometimes just eat grass, not necessarily because they
have a tummy ache or anything, but just because they
like the taste. So it's like, it's what's really funny
in terms of dog behavior is like sometimes they'll do
something that makes it seem like they have a problem problem, right, Like, all,

(33:26):
my dog's been eating a lot of grass lady lately,
maybe he has some kind of stomach problem. And while
that could be true, could also be your dog's bored
and then realize grass tastes kind of interesting because he's
sick of his food. There have been cases. Yeah, just
like so it's it is. I would say that you're
correct in that cats and dogs maybe have a less

(33:47):
less finesse when it comes to self medicating compared to
say a chimpanzee. But you know, I think that they
do crave certain things when they're feeling, you know, like
that there's there are ways to sort of diagnose dogs
with say like an iron deficiency, right if they start
eating their poop a lot because they're like craving some something,

(34:09):
so like they may be self medicating, but it may
not be maybe more just like they have these cravings
and they want to fulfill that, and so they don't
necessarily have to be as intelligent as an ape to
do it.

Speaker 2 (34:23):
And listeners, listen here, I don't I don't mean to
besmirch the intelligence of cats. And I want to those
letters from dogs because of this episode, please, But you know,
it is interesting you're kind of describing what in medicine
we call pika pika pica, like when there's a deficiency
in something. Sometimes people and children and will be driven

(34:47):
to eat certain things like ice or whatever because there's
some craving there's iron or something that they're missing.

Speaker 1 (34:51):
And the women too, right sometimes.

Speaker 2 (34:54):
Yeah, yeah, I mean the question of like pregnancy, and
again I'm not ubi kind, so I can't I have
to preface it with that. But I find that's an
interesting topic too, Like cravings, how real is that? How
much of that is a wives tale? And like what
that might be due to if it's there. I think
that's a really interesting topic too.

Speaker 1 (35:13):
Yeah, because like if you're told to expect that, right, like, oh,
you're gonna have cravings, and also you're going through all
of these huge hormone changes and you're not feeling very good,
and you're like, well, you know what, I do like
ice cream, so maybe I'll have some of that. And
it's like, oh, you're craving ice cream. It's like, who isn't?

Speaker 2 (35:32):
Yeah? And pickles are great, Yeah, I want pickles. I
want ice cream.

Speaker 1 (35:37):
And if you're like hungrier right the normal, maybe you're
like and you also are dealing with nausea. Like when
I have like a stomach issue, I have cravings for
food that is safe to me, right, Like, I really
like a specific kind of sandwich or something, So I'm
craving that because any other food sounds repulsive because I

(35:58):
just had the stomach flu. So I feel like that
may also be a factor. It's so hard to isolate
those things when there's so much influence of like society
and then also everything else going on in pregnancy, right, So,
to do a really bad segue from pregnancy to fruit flies, fruitflies,
when they're pregnant, they make some interesting decisions as well.

(36:23):
That was actually a pretty good segue.

Speaker 3 (36:25):
Ye.

Speaker 1 (36:27):
Fruit flies seem to dynamically respond to their environment in
terms of medicating their offspring. So fruit flies they eat fruit,
and they can either eat fresh or rotting fruit. And
you know, of course fruit is on sort of a
spectrum of freshness. But if they eat the rotting fruit,

(36:49):
like really really rotting fruit, as the sugars are breaking down,
its creating a lot of ethanol. So they will get
a lot of ethanol by eating say a very rotten
banana versus a more relatively fresh banana. And having too
much ethanol for fruitfly actually reduces its overall fitness. So
in general they don't overindulge in the rotting in the

(37:12):
rotting fruit. However, female fruit flies seem to dynamically make
a decision of where they will lay their eggs based
on whether they see a parasitoid wasp or not. So
this was a study called Fruitflies Medicaid Offspring after seeing
parasites by schlank at All at the University of Arizona.

(37:36):
So researchers are always mean to bugs. I mean, it's
fine because we learn a lot, but you know, they're
just scaring these poor bugs. So they expose these fruitflies
to basically they show them a parasitoid wasp, and so

(37:57):
you know, the little fruitflies scream in terror, we can't
hear them, and then they decide to lay their eggs
on rotting fruit rather than fresh fruit. And so just
to give a rundown of what is a parasitoid wasp,
So a parasitoid rather than a parasite, is something that
is both a parasite but then also ends up killing you.

(38:20):
So like it is it functionally it eats you. So
like both paris it's both parasite and predator. So a
parasitoid wasp will lay her eggs in or on its victims,
and then when those eggs hatch, the larva will eat
that victim slowly, either from the inside out or from
the surface, just sucking out your juices.

Speaker 2 (38:42):
Just oh, nightmare. Yeah, fuel, it's the worst. When people
post videos of this, I have to watch it and
I hate myself for it.

Speaker 1 (38:50):
Yeah, there's one where it's like a caterpillar exploding with larvae.
It's not great.

Speaker 2 (38:55):
Yeah, oh my god.

Speaker 1 (38:58):
So these fruit flies obviously don't want this horrifying fate
for their offspring. Now, when I say want, I always
have to preface it with like when we're talking about
like a dog or a chimpanzee, they can have actual
wants and desires. When we're talking about fruitflies, I think
that they have a very basic consciousness, but it's hard

(39:22):
to say that they are reasoning like, uh oh, a parasitoid.
I don't want my offspring to be victim to this.
It's something that is much more like an instinct that
is like a computer program, where it's like an if
then statement. Right, if I see this, then I do this.
So when they're shown a parasitoid wasp, they will lay

(39:43):
their eggs on this rotting fruit, and that high ethanol content.
If the parasitoid lays its eggs inside of these little
fruit fly larva, that high ethanol content actually kills off
the developing larva, and so it kills off that internal
parasite and so right, And so the trade off being

(40:04):
that if I don't see a parasitoid wasp, I'm not
going to lay it on rotting fruit because that high
ethanol content is actually not great for us, but we
don't die. But if I see a parasitoid wasp, then
I will risk that because the trade off is worth
protecting my offspring from an almost certain fatal case of

(40:25):
parasitoid wasp larvae, and they're so specific about it. They
only do this when they see a female parasitoid wasp.
They don't do this when they see a male parasitoid wasp.
So they really are just kind of keyed for the
most reasonable, most efficient kind of like, Okay, if I

(40:47):
see this, this means imminent danger, and therefore I'm going
to take the risk of laying my eggs on something
with a high ethanol content.

Speaker 2 (40:55):
So, yes, this is fascinating to me because you know,
in medicine there are some suggested parallels or at least
something I find parallel, like, for example, that there is
a thought that the evolution of sickle cell anemia is
because it would be protective against malaria, that the malaria cell,

(41:18):
the parasite that causes malaria, is halted in some way
by sickle cells, so that therefore people who had the
sickle cell trait could be more resistant to the disease.
I'm not an evolutionary biologist, but I found that like fascinating,
so like it totally makes sense to me that this
could happen on some very small level, not like obviously purposeful.

(41:39):
Because of the fruit flies are dumb. I'm not afraid
to say it. I'm not afraid to say it. Cancel me, fruitflies, fruit.

Speaker 1 (41:46):
Fly furiously trying to type a negative review of the podcast,
but it can't depress the key because it's too small.
So no, I mean that is it is a really
interesting example in humans because it is like sickle cell
anemia is not ideal, right, it's not like having that
trait is good in all aspects, right, but specifically in

(42:10):
terms of preventing negative effects of malaria, it is good.
So it's a trade off. When you're in a higher
risk environment, you may want some kind of trade off
of something and an adaptive trait that's not maybe ideal
in all circumstances, but in this high risk environment it

(42:30):
is the best choice, which is you know, I mean
it isn't It's like it's also probably as a doctor,
it's the same thing when choosing a treatment, a medical treatment, right,
there may be some treatments that aren't like you would
not give to a healthy person because they would be
bad for a healthy person to take, But for say

(42:51):
a cancer patient, this is the best possible treatment in
this circumstance.

Speaker 2 (42:57):
Yeah, absolutely correct, And so yeah.

Speaker 1 (43:00):
I mean, it's it's funny because it's like it feels
so intentional because when we do it, like when doctors
do it, when we do it, it is intentional. But
for these fruit flies, it is just they have been
programmed by millions of years of evolution of of you know,
those that survive end up surviving, and those that don't,
well that's it, and creating this very complicated almost like

(43:21):
you know, computer program telling it, guiding it how to
find the most efficient and most probable way to ensure
that their genetic offspring survive.

Speaker 2 (43:35):
Yeah, that's very cool. That is very cool.

Speaker 1 (43:39):
Yes, no, I love it. Fruit Flies also, I think
are really cute. But I think everything is cool. Really yeah,
I mean you know they got them.

Speaker 2 (43:47):
Do you like they do the thing where they clean
their face, they're cleaning their heads.

Speaker 1 (43:51):
Yeah, it's she's doing it. It's very good. I feel
like I'm in the room with a fruit fly right now. Yes,
Or gonna take a quick break, and when we get back,
we're gonna ask the question, like our animals good doctors?
All right, and we're back, and so the question is
our animals good doctors? Well no, but we are gonna

(44:14):
answer the more complicated question of like, what can we
learn from animals in terms of actual medicine, although I
don't I do not want to besmirch the noble profession
of therapy dogs.

Speaker 3 (44:29):
They're good.

Speaker 1 (44:30):
They're good dog doctors, you know. Okay, So here here's
a uh, this is an off the cuve question I
have for you. There's a bunch of stuff about like
dogs being able to sniff cancer, and I find that
very interesting, but it also seems like medically it would
be kind of uh. I mean, it seems like it'd

(44:50):
be very difficult to use that as a diagnostic technique,
to use dogs.

Speaker 2 (44:56):
I have not seen any evidence that that's real. I
may have missed it, but I have not. I've heard
of this. I've heard of things like dogs being able
to trains bila stif out cancer and dogs or cats
who can detect when someone's about to die in the
nursing home and they go sit by them and there.
I mean, you could I could handwave a lot of

(45:19):
explanations for that what might be happening and the smells
that they're picking up on a level that we never
would be able to understand. But I have a hard time.
I have a hard time buying that one. Unless I
see something really reputable come out and explain what's happening,
or show in testing that it's possible. I would have

(45:39):
a hard time. My guess is there's probably people who
have cancer and they're like taking medicine that might have
might change something, might it might have a smell or
something like that, and that stands out to the to
the dog. I can't I can't quite see how you
would like hold like a cancer in front of a dog, right,
and they'd be like, go go get it, go get it,
and they hunt down in the hup of body.

Speaker 1 (46:00):
Yeah, if you shrink the dog real small, maybe you
could get the dog to hunt down the cancer inside
the body. Now, I mean there have been studies that
show dogs can't like you. I mean, dog noses are
incredibly powerful. So you can get them to smell out
like compounds right that would be found in cancers, and

(46:20):
to like, you know, give a positive signal to like
I can smell this, right, and to select the thing
that has that compound. The problem is with dog behavior,
like first of all, whether a person who actually has
cancer would have enough of that that could be smelled.

(46:40):
And also, uh, when you have like dogs aren't good
at just like most people won't have that, right. And
so if you have a dog sitting at you know,
at the front of a hospital smelling everyone who comes in,
if they're not getting a positive signal, uh, they're eventually
gonna stop caring because they're not getting any rewards. So

(47:05):
it does like the dog behavior is not like a
dog is not going to be motivated in the same
way as a blood test, right, because the dog has
its own motivations. And so to smell like a thousand
people and it's like, yeah, I don't smell anything. Eventually
the dog's gonna be like, well, even if I get
a positive signal, I've lost I've lost the plot here.

Speaker 2 (47:27):
So yeah, yeah, by the time you take that patient,
he smells and they get that patient tested and then
you're like, okay, we got the MRI and it does
show that there's a mass here. Here's a treat. The
dog will be like, what's this for?

Speaker 1 (47:39):
Yeah, exactly, exactly, Okay, I'm glad we're on the same
page as saying dogs are not ready to be doctors.
They're great, they're great at emotional therapy though and things
like that. But so Yes. One thing that I really
love about humans is that we will take a look
at the most venomous, toxic, dangerous animal and go like, huh,

(48:03):
could we like take that venom that makes us like
lead out of our eyes and then turn it into
medicine And we do it and it's it's amazing. So
gilla monsters, which are sorry, HeLa monsters which are found
in southwest US, have a potent venom that contains a

(48:26):
number of peptides and toxins that results in a very
nasty bite. They would be as venomous as like a rattlesnake,
except that they don't deliver as much of that venom
per bite, although they are much more tenacious than a rattlesnake.
They will bite and hold and it can be very
difficult to pry them off of you. But yeah, so

(48:49):
it's typically not lethal, but it's still extremely painful. Uh,
and it has killed some people. So definitely don't like
relax Like if well, relax, but relax and drive yourself
to the hospital or call someone to drive you to
the hospital. Don't drive yourself to the hospital if you've
got a gill a monster, heel a monster on your arm.
What am I saying?

Speaker 2 (49:10):
Get someone to drive, don't bring that hospital.

Speaker 1 (49:13):
Yeah, yeah, don't you know, try to make sure the
heal monster is not attached to you when you go
to the hospital. Anyways, the point is the bite is
bad and you don't want to get it. But the
venom is very interesting and it has so many compounds

(49:33):
that in terms of being bitten by it is really
bad for you. Causes all of these, uh you know,
a lot of pain, a lot of bleeding, a lot
of swelling. But because it is these compounds that can
interfere with things, like you know, interact with yourselves. When
they examined these, they were able to isolate a specific

(49:56):
compound that is similar in structure, the g LP one hormone.
So this it was called a it's called a extending four.
I feel like this is just Pokemon names. Now.

Speaker 2 (50:10):
I can't I can't help you. If you're looking for
me to help you with this, I'm a no one.

Speaker 1 (50:14):
Can no one can help.

Speaker 3 (50:16):
But like so.

Speaker 1 (50:19):
Just it's just imagine a bunch of protein shapes and
they all have like weird pokemon names, and you're supposed
to remember them, but it's nobody does. So, Uh, this
it's it's a compound that is similar enough to this
GLP one hormone that, among other things, controls blood sugar
levels uh in humans, and so it's actually has use

(50:42):
in helping to treat type two diabetes, which is amazing
that you can do. You can like take this venom
from this reptile that like it's developed. Like imagine being
a helo monster where it's like I have developed this
and them over many hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, uh,

(51:05):
to mess with with you like to to hunt prey
and to ward off predators or busy bodies like humans.
And then we're like, oh, yes, please, let's uh, let's
use that to treat ourselves of our diseases. I mean,
that's gotta be kind of insulting.

Speaker 2 (51:23):
It's it's I think it's pretty cool. So GLP lukagon
like peptide is a big part of you know, how
we are our endocrine system works, and it's broken down
pretty quickly in the human body when it's made indogenously.
And I'm curious, you know, like you know if the

(51:44):
function of the GLP like or the glucagon like peptides
that the helo monster is making how they function in
a different way. That's fascinating, and I could be like,
I mean, you're probably gonna tell me it sounds like
it could be very useful to humans.

Speaker 1 (52:03):
Yeah, yeah, I mean it can be used. This compound
that has was originally derived from the Heala monster is
used like in treating type two diabetes, uh to kind
of help control the the blood sugar regulation after eating,
because like type I mean, correct me if I'm wrong,

(52:24):
but type two diabetes, one of the main issues is
that the you know, like the ability to regulate blood sugar,
especially after a meal no longer like there's almost this
resistance right to insulin such that you can no longer regulate,
so you can have these big spikes or big drops

(52:45):
in blood sugar that can be dangerous.

Speaker 2 (52:47):
Yeah, that's right. It's a it's a big part of
the diabetes process. And I did not know that the
WHI which medicine? Do you know that the brand name
of the medicine that was derived from the Healo monster
any chance, because I don't know. I don't know this story.
I think that's incredible.

Speaker 1 (53:06):
Let's see, I'm looking at it too. I'm also I'm
googling it. Medicine drug eccentotide.

Speaker 2 (53:21):
I don't know it, but I'm also not indocrinologists, so
I guess that's not surprising.

Speaker 1 (53:25):
Let me just make sure if we're actually is accnotide
like how because like exenatide.

Speaker 2 (53:34):
Let me look at it up here.

Speaker 1 (53:37):
I thought it was actually you cenotype exxenotide. Yeah, it
looks like it's uh, looks like it is. It has
been approved. It was approved for medical use in the
US in two thousand and five.

Speaker 2 (53:49):
How do you spell it?

Speaker 1 (53:50):
E X E N A T I D E.

Speaker 2 (53:55):
Okay, Uh. Look, I'm trying to see if they have
it in my so, you know, we have like our
medical resources that we go to to look at medications.
I'm wondering if they have it. Like the story of it,
I think that's so fascinating.

Speaker 1 (54:09):
Yeah, there's a I mean I used to work at
a It was like a scientific science communication company that
did stuff for pharmaceutical companies, and I do remember having
to carefully look up pictures of HeLa monsters for some
kind of presentation, So perhaps that's what it was. Yeah,

(54:30):
there was a It's sold under the brand named Baieta,
among others.

Speaker 2 (54:35):
Yeah, not why I will I have to say that,
you know, as a I'm a GI doctor. As a
GI doctor and GI and liver, I don't treat diabetes,
and I think that the guys who do the end
of prenologists, who really delve into the details of it
like this, I think it's really fascinating, like hormonal stuff

(54:57):
that's over my head. But I think this is just
this is this is a fun example of like turning
something that someone probably thought was silly research into something
incredibly useful for humans. Ye, Like at some point someone
was doing research on healo monsters and someone was saying,

(55:18):
why are you wasting our government time and money, our
taxpayer time and money on this thing? And look how
it's helped in a very significant way. I assume I
don't use the medication, but I assume it's a pretty
significant benefit to humans.

Speaker 1 (55:32):
Yeah, it's at least another sort of like tool in
our arsenal tool to treat it. Yeah, exactly, And I
mean it is. And this is a story that seems
to be repeated, especially for like it's seems like the
nastier the toxin is, like the more intriguing it can
be in terms of like finding things that can actually

(55:53):
be useful. I am not saying you should let yourself
get bitten by any of these things. You will at
worst die and at least be an incredible pain. So
this is not how you are treated by this. They
have to isolate the compound that is actually responsible for
the good stuff and on all the bad things, like

(56:13):
you know, coagulation that's happening inside your body that's not good.
But yeah, so things like snake venom that can be
really dangerous in nature like that, because like snake venom
can contain both like anticoagulants and coagulants at the same
time sometimes so it can like make you cause clotting,

(56:36):
but also like internal bleeding, it can like cause dangerous
drops in blood pressure.

Speaker 2 (56:42):
Uh.

Speaker 1 (56:43):
Researchers can isolate and synthesize these compounds and use them
to actually treat either blood pressure conditions or blood clotting
issues in humans, or heart related conditions or prevent hearted tacks.
I mean, it's like it's amazing because this thing that
like if one of these snakes bites you, it could

(57:05):
cause like a heart attack or dangerous clots. But then
you isolate these compounds, you synthesize them, and then you
can create a drug that can actually protect you. It's amazing.

Speaker 2 (57:18):
Yeah, it's like, you know, the bigger the effect it
has negatively, the more thought there is that there are
such active components within it that could be teased apart
and looked at that could be useful.

Speaker 1 (57:29):
That is yeah exactly, I know. But we like to
see the silver lining in the deadly toxin the full
kind of people exactly. One of my favorite examples is
cone snails. Cone snails are these beautiful mollusks that they
have these really pretty shells. Never pick one of them up.

(57:53):
Just you can look up images of cone snails. They're
they're quite nice and a lot of like beach comerce
will sometimes pick one up and they lovely. But they
have this harpoon that they shoot out, and it can
be deadly in humans and at the very least incredibly painful,
and it is meant to paralyze prey. But the thing

(58:15):
that's interesting and kind of an oxymoron with this is
while all this can be incredibly painful, it can also
be numbing. And researchers looked into these specific com compounds
in this. They call it conotoxin, which is, you know,
the nose a little on the nose, but it's you

(58:37):
don't want it on the nose though, Uh so it
can actually because they they're there. The method of action
is by interfering with receptors on nerves like nerve cells
that can actually be used as an intense pain relieving drug.
So it's interesting because it's a specific drug called I

(58:59):
think zacona tide. Again, not very original name. Yeah, but
it's but it's like, uh, it can only it's not
like a pill you take it. It can only be
I think like through a spinal a spinal dripper. It's
not it's not like super convenient, but it's like, if
you have like severe pain that is not responding to

(59:24):
other treatments, like chronic pain that's not responding to other treatments,
this is a possible treatment. And it's from this thing
that like is just horrifying and causes horrifying injuries if
you get struck by one in the wild.

Speaker 2 (59:39):
That is fascinating. I just looked it up. The cone
sale venom peptide ultimately ultimately became pre alt, so I
guess that's the brand name of it. I don't know
what the generic is, but yeah, that's so cool. Yeah,
and this cone I'm looking, I'm looking at a picture
of it. It looks like the kind you would see
on a beach though anywhere. That's that's a little scary.

Speaker 1 (01:00:01):
It's a little scary.

Speaker 2 (01:00:01):
I mean they warned me about picking up snails.

Speaker 1 (01:00:04):
Yeah, I mean, so cone snails I think generally are found. Yeah,
it's like the western Indo Pacific region. Yeah, if you
see a really cool shell, maybe hesitate before picking it up,
like you can. I think if you look up images
of cone shells, it's a specific conical shape that they
have to them that you can know to avoid, like

(01:00:26):
if it's a clamshell, right, Like, that's okay?

Speaker 2 (01:00:29):
Can I can I bring up one more interesting fact
about this? So the name pre alt b r I
ALT is the name of the medication, and they named
it that way because it's short for primary alternative to morphine. Interesting,
they were very ambitious about that.

Speaker 1 (01:00:50):
I don't know, I don't know how because it doesn't
seem like this is super widely used. It seems like
it's used in specific cases where someone has, like in
track pull, chronic pain and they don't want to use morphine.
So and it's you know, it's also not a super
convenient method of delivery, so but still it's still really

(01:01:11):
neat that It's like, this is this thing that is
designed to kill prey and inflict pain upon threats, and
yet we're like, yeah, but what if we put that
in our spines?

Speaker 2 (01:01:26):
Yeah? Yeah, humans rock.

Speaker 1 (01:01:28):
Yeah. A couple of honorary mentions before we end the
show is a shark skin which has is this very
rough texture on this microscopic scale, which inhibits the growth
of bacteria. And so there's this idea of creating artificial
shark skin in hospital settings to discourage the growth of
bacteria on surfaces. This is not a reality yet, but

(01:01:51):
I am definitely looking forward to just like a shark
themed hospital with everything made out of shark. Not real sharks,
because we love the sharks and we don't want to hurt,
but artificial shark skin.

Speaker 2 (01:02:02):
This is how a spider man villain is created.

Speaker 1 (01:02:05):
Just so you know, Doctor. Also, mosquito proboscises are so
good at inserting into skin that is painless because they
don't want to alert you to their presence that researchers
have been looking into the design of their their proboscis

(01:02:27):
is and they actually have an interesting design where it's
like these two sharp points that like that are like twins,
and then they kind of like do this like stepping
motion down into the skin, and that somehow does it
in a way that is very precise and less destructive
because they don't want to cut these mosquitos. They don't

(01:02:48):
want to hurt you because then you swat at them,
so they want it to be painless, and having it
be painless actually causes less damage, and then that's how
they will suck blood. And so researchers are currently trying
to figure out can we make really really precise syringes
with these that could like limit damage, right, like in
some kind of like I don't know because I'm not

(01:03:10):
a doctor, but some kind of situation where you'd want
a very precise injection or to make syringes less painful.

Speaker 2 (01:03:17):
Yeah, I mean, for nothing else, Like intramuscular injections, that'd
be great. Yeah, you know, like an I AM injection
of something. You know how well that would hold up
being injected into a blood vessel. That might be a
real challenge. Yeah, but I don't see any It seems
very feasible that you could create a painless way to deliver,

(01:03:38):
like a vaccine or a shot or something like that.

Speaker 1 (01:03:41):
Finally somewhere to apply my project of creating giant mutated mosquitoes.
I haven't been able to get a government grant for
it because they're like, why would we want that?

Speaker 2 (01:03:53):
And here's why, so short sighted of them.

Speaker 1 (01:03:56):
Well, before we go, I, if you have time, I'd
like to play a quick game called the Mystery Animal
Sound Game, where I play a mystery animal sound and you,
the guests, and you the audience, try to guess who
is making that sound.

Speaker 2 (01:04:09):
Yeah, I know the show. I'm ready for you. I
knew this was coming, so I prepared and I've listened
to all the animals.

Speaker 1 (01:04:15):
You've listened to every You've listened to every That's well.

Speaker 2 (01:04:18):
I have a I have a book with my kid.
I play a lot where my kids and I think
like the.

Speaker 1 (01:04:23):
Dog goes bark, bark, quiz, how goes what? Yeah? That's good.
That's very good. All right, So the hint for this
one is all well that ends well, okay, So that

(01:04:45):
did you hear that?

Speaker 2 (01:04:47):
That was terrifying?

Speaker 1 (01:04:49):
Yeah?

Speaker 2 (01:04:49):
I did hear it.

Speaker 1 (01:04:50):
It's pretty intense. It does sound uh like the coming
of the Demon Apocalypse. But you got any guesses for
who is making this sound?

Speaker 2 (01:05:01):
Okay? I was gonna say some sort of ape. The
fact that you made the Shakespeare reference though, I'm trying
to think, like, is there a Shakespearean this is.

Speaker 1 (01:05:14):
Wait, this is too smart for this. You're being too
smart for me.

Speaker 2 (01:05:18):
I'm gonna say. I'm gonna say, macaw.

Speaker 1 (01:05:21):
That is a great guess because you are in the
right general sort of order of things. This is a
barn owl. See, you were going for like a Shakespeare
thing far off. Yeah, I was just going all owls,
Well that ends well, because owls, it's you're mistake. Yeah,
You're mistake was assuming that this was a smart show.

Speaker 2 (01:05:43):
I don't think maccaw had anything to do with Shakespeare,
so I don't. I don't know where I got that from.

Speaker 1 (01:05:48):
I mean I think in in what Taming of the
Macaw that was that was one of them.

Speaker 2 (01:05:54):
I remember that.

Speaker 1 (01:05:56):
So it is a barn owl. So these guys are
I think there's some of the more beautiful looking elegant owls.
For being so elegant looking, they have this horrifying screeching call.
It does sound like they are trying to summon satan
to their evil cause. But instead it's actually just a
sweet call that they're making. The male screech who invite

(01:06:18):
females to his nest, and females use it to recrest
food from their male partners, So it is a not
an aggressive thing necessarily.

Speaker 2 (01:06:28):
So the is that not a thing? So those are yeah, no, that's.

Speaker 1 (01:06:33):
Now calls just different species of owls. You'll hear that
from like bar owls to Okay, I know that sounds similar,
but there's barn owls and there's bar owls. That's not confusing,
you know. Yeah, a lot of owl species will have
the who the hooting, but the barnew has this awful screech,
which honestly though with the female barnow screeching for her

(01:06:58):
mate to give her food, like, I really relate to that,
Like as soon as I hear crinkling in the kitchen,
like I'm in there just screeching at the top of
my lungs for my husband to share whatever it is
with me. So onto this week's mystery animal sound. The
hint is this, it makes this sound with its body

(01:07:21):
as it moves under your feet. Okay, so did you
hear that like gurgling?

Speaker 2 (01:07:37):
Sound I did. I'm gonna suit I guess, Yeah, you
can guess. That's the sound of a male graboid from
the Build series Tremors.

Speaker 1 (01:07:48):
That is so close it's not correct, But you are,
you are on the right track. I You'll find out
what the answer to this question is. I'm next episode
of Freaky Feature. Is it a graboid? Are Graboid's real?
Perhaps I'm not saying no, Anything's possible. Well, stay tuned,

(01:08:11):
Stay tuned well, Doctor keave Hoda, thank you so much
for joining me today. Where can people find you?

Speaker 2 (01:08:21):
Thank you for having me? This is really fun. I
really appreciate those those I learned a ton, so thank
you so much. They can find me on my podcast.
Where is all the podcast? And places will have it?
Should have it? They don't let me know? I will.
I will get it there for you. It is called
the House of Pod. It is a Emmer adjacent medical

(01:08:42):
podcast when we cover public health topics and where they
intersect with the news and pop culture. And I know
you might not think you like a medical show, but
it's not that medical and it's fun. So give it
a shot and you can follow me anywhere you do
your social media. I'm still on Twitter, brave Man, be there.

(01:09:06):
Yeah I don't. Yeah, it's a whole thing, but I
am there, so you can find me there, and thank
you again, thanks so much. This is a blast.

Speaker 1 (01:09:13):
Yeah, absolutely, and I highly recommend the podcast. I love
this kind of podcast because, like, I'm very interested in medicine,
and yet I am too squeamish and lazy to have
ever really gotten into medicine. So I but I do
love to listen and to read about it, and so
I feel like it's a really accessible way if you're like,

(01:09:35):
if it's like your hobby, right, I'm not saying you
should go and do surgery as your hobby, but listening
to medical podcasts as a hobby I think is very
healthy and.

Speaker 2 (01:09:46):
We will not get you sued, very unlikely.

Speaker 1 (01:09:50):
Yes, thank you guys so much for listening. If you're
enjoying the show and you leave a rating and review,
it actually helps me. And I read every single one
of them. I print them all out and I hand
them out like flyers to people to be like, hey, look,
people like me. This is evidence right here. And thanks
to the Space Classics for their super awesome song Exo Lumina.

(01:10:11):
Creature features a production of iHeartRadio. For more podcasts like
the one you just heard, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts,
or Hey Guess what where if you listen to your
favorite shows. I'm not sure, mother, I can't tell you
what to do. I can't tell you how to live
your life. That's a you decision, baby. The next Wednesday,

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