Welcome to STEMology – Show Notes

Season 1, Episode 7

Bat poo, Plastic ants, RC Helicopter flight and joyful screams

In this episode Dr Sophie Calabretto and Dr David Farmer talk about…

In today’s episode of  STEMology, we’re going to talk to you about … 

the ultimate remote-controlled helicopter flight, ants that can change their biological makeup, bat poo that can be used to tell the climate change story and joyful screams perceived more strongly than screams of fear or anger

Bat Poo

Straight into bat poo, straight into the amazing properties about poo and what it can tell us about the ancient past

Plastic Ants

There are ants that sacrifice brains to become more fertile, but can undo it if necessary

Remote Control Helicopter Flight

We’ve done the first powered flight on another planet ever.

Joyful screams

The whole study is based on the ability of these actors to correctly reproduce a certain type of screen.

This is a “kind of, sort of, vaguely close” copy of the words that David & Sophie speak in this episode.

IT IS NOT 100% accurate.  We are very sorry if we have spelt something completely incorrectly.  If it means a lot to you to have it corrected, email us at stemology@ramaley.media

STEMology s1e7

Sophie: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode seven of STEMology.

[00:00:03]Dave: [00:00:03] a podcast that is your one-stop podcast shop for the interesting fun, and sometimes just patently bizarre news in science, technology, engineering, and or maths.

[00:00:12] your hosts are Dr. Sophie Calabretto and Dr. David Farmer

[00:00:15]Sophie: [00:00:15] On today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about bat poo,

[00:00:19]Dave: [00:00:19] plastic ants, remote control helicopters,

[00:00:21]Sophie: [00:00:21] And joyful screams.

Bat Poo

[00:00:24]  so Dave, what was the first time you thought about bat poo?

[00:00:36]Dave: [00:00:36] I have to say it was the first time I saw this documentary called ACE Ventura two, When nature calls. And that was my first experience with bat poo or guano, as it’s known in the filmmaking and scientific community

[00:00:47] Sophie: [00:00:47] Uh, I was actually thinking about the first time I heard the word guano and it was exactly the same thing and I was slightly ashamed.

[00:00:54] Dave: [00:00:54] No, you shouldn’t be ashamed. You should be pleased with yourself.  I love that there’s no segue into this for just straight into poo, to straight into bat poo, straight into the amazing properties about poo and what it can tell us about the ancient past.

[00:01:06] Sophie: [00:01:06] Yeah. So tell us, Dave, I hear that they’ve been taking core samples of bat poo and they’ve been drawing conclusions from that bat poo

[00:01:15] Dave: [00:01:15] So this is some researchers in the university of Ottawa and Canada. And they’ve been looking at a cave in Jamaica where there has been an accumulated pile of bat poo that has been going for 4,300 years. So in fact, it’s been going for so long that it tells us not just about what ancient bats ate.

[00:01:35] Because you can look at the poo and work out what was in their diet, but because their diet changes based on the climate, we can actually learn about what was happening in the climate, just by looking at the poo of the bats.

[00:01:45]Sophie: [00:01:45] Yeah. So bat poo was this very important historical mechanism for discovering what’s happened in our climate. So, I just quickly in this cave, Dave, did you make a note of what the Jamaican cave was called? And was it maybe your favorite thing ever?

[00:02:00] Dave: [00:02:00] I did. It was M the very poorly named home away from home cave in Jamaica.

[00:02:06] Sophie: [00:02:06] And so I looked up the home away from home cave in Jamaica, because I was just interested into where it was geographically. Turns out hard to find information about it on the internet. It’s actually on private land, which is part of the issue. But I, I did find a website called Jamaican caves.org. And it’s a website of caving notes. If you go to Jamaica and it’s got all this really cool information about like, Every cave, you can go caving in, in Jamaica. And some of my favorite things about this particular cave. So it’s got useful information. Like it will say rock type white limestone.

[00:02:35] Dark zone 50%. Cave,= crickets, many. But this was updated in 2005. So guano mining, none. So if anyone is a moderator of this site, I need someone to go back into the cave and just make a note that there has been guano mining, because what they did, Dave, getting back to the science at hand is. It was actually a two-part study.

[00:02:55] So first they looked at our modern guano. So they got 37 samples from 18 species,  from bats in orange County Berleis. And what they did is they looked at the fresh bat guano and they looked at the chemical compounds and how that correlated to what the bats had been eating.

[00:03:12] So whether it was plants or insects or blood. You know that the chemical makeup of the guano was different. And then they used that to compare to this bat guano. This  4,300 year old bat guano core.

[00:03:23]Dave: [00:03:23] too. So one of the things that we’re looking at are two of the things they were looking at in the poo were these compounds called sterols and stanols so a sterile, you’re probably all familiar with the sterile listeners. You’re probably all familiar with cholesterol and cholesterol is very, very important.

[00:03:37] In fact, every. Or most synthesize this sterile because it’s an important part of the membrane that makes so that sterols sterols are indicative of animals. So if you find sterols in the poo, then that bat probably ate animals or in this case, probably blood and insects, whereas stanols very broadly are a chemical compound that are found in plants.

[00:04:00] And it’s so basically by of the bats, you can work out by the, the relative quantities of sterols and stanols whether they ate plants or animals or a combination of both.

[00:04:13] Sophie: [00:04:13] yeah. And just, just quick digression and this one’s very quick. Cause I didn’t know anything about sterols and stanols cause obviously I never paid attention to biology in my past accidentally,  or I guess ecology cause it’s plants?, um, phyto steroids, because they are similar to cholesterol in the human body, they block cholesterol from being absorbed and should be part of our heart healthy eating plan. So everyone, bats tell us a lot of things, but we also know that maybe bats are quite heart-healthy. So this is, I think it’s like fruits and like your, these are like plants, steroids, and Santos. So if you eat Legumes and fruits and vegetables and stuff, you basically eat these things and then they will block that cholesterol absorption and make you heart healthy.

[00:04:53]Dave: [00:04:53] So the other thing, no, the home away from Jamaica, this, I said it was poorly named only because my home away from home has little to no. Bats or other poop in it. And, but also they described this process as coring taking thin samples. But there’s a great, if you look in the there’s this great picture taken by one amateur photographer.

[00:05:11] I presume called Grumes And it’s just poop fills the entire frame of this picture with the exception coring device and the coring device is what I can only describe as a piece of metal that resembles a poop scoop. What’s known in the scientific community as a poop scoop, and also amateur photographer.

[00:05:30] Chris Grumes has gone to the trouble of putting his name on the poop scoop. So not only is he an amateur photographer of poop, he’s also desperately worried about the threat of his theft, of his poop scooper.


[00:05:41]Sophie: [00:05:41] yeah, I wasn’t, I know people who work with this, you know, there’s kind of coring, so I’ve got a friend who I’m going to get this wrong. She is a geochemical oceanographer and she takes these cause from the ocean, like in the sediment and looks at, you know, what’s been happening and stuff.

[00:05:55] And they’re like really nice long tubes , you can see like the cross-section of like the beautiful color change and stuff. And looking at this picture, it just looked like a poop scoop in a bunch of dirt. But the nice thing about this is it’s a sort of a relatively non-invasive method that they could use to look at how bat feeding guilds are affected by different environmental conditions. And then apparently they can use this to then monitor and protect bat populations in the future. And they’re saying this technique could be used with other animals. Cause often, you know, if we’re looking at things in the earth from the past, you’re talking about sort of lakes and sediments and stuff.

[00:06:29] Whereas this is just like coring something out of a cave. As long as something’s been pooping on it for 4,300 years.

[00:06:35]Dave: [00:06:35] For a long time and they go on to point out,  that doesn’t have to be bats. It could be birds as well, which I thought was interesting. So yeah, basically what they found is that they found these changes in the poop composition. So basically around a thousand years ago, there was a thing called the medieval warm periods when the Americas were particularly dry.  Which is bad for insects, if it’s warmer and dryer, that’s bad for the insects of the insects probably didn’t do as well.

[00:06:58] So what they found is a corresponding shift to fruit eating bat poop, which means either the bats in the cave ate more fruits, or there were more fruits eating bats in the cave. So this is, they say justification for how we can use the bat poop to monitor or study changes in the Earth’s climate back to, as you say times when things are being pooped on in the

[00:07:19] past,

[00:07:20] Sophie: [00:07:20] Yeah, so bats can tell us why we shouldn’t build roads through their habitats. And they can also tell us about the past with their poop. So what, what an animal, what a stellar animal.

Jumping ant

[00:07:29]  from animals that poo to animals that hang around in poo and maybe also poo, but we’re not

[00:07:42] talking about their poo

[00:07:43] Dave: [00:07:43] I poo that bah ants poo surely they poo

[00:07:46]Sophie: [00:07:46] Surely everything that easts poos

[00:07:48] ants Dave. I want to talk to you about an Indian jumping ant.  So what I learnt in this piece was, so this is some work that’s come out of New York university, school of medicine and Arizona state university. And we’re eventually going to get to the plasticity of brains and ovaries in a certain type of ant.

[00:08:07] And that’s the Indian jumping ant. But did you even know, and I did not know this. So in most ant colonies, the only members of the colonies that can reproduce, it’s like the queen and males, right. And when the queen dies, so does the colony. So like it doesn’t, it doesn’t die instantaneously. It’s not a cult like affair, but basically the queen dies and no one can make more baby ants and in the whole colony just dies.

[00:08:29] Dave: [00:08:29] That’s a

[00:08:29] Sophie: [00:08:29] Is that not upsetting? Yeah.

[00:08:31] Dave: [00:08:31] for all of the ants.

[00:08:33] Sophie: [00:08:33] It really does, but there are these Indian jumping ants and  what Indian jumping ants  have  this kind of ant called… It’s a gamma gate. So what happens is when the queen dies, the female worker ants compete for the new role as queen.

[00:08:48] And so when you’re a worker, you need, I guess, certain attributes as a worker ant, and when you’re queen they’re slightly different. So what you want a really big ovaries and I guess apparently like a very small brain. So what happens is, these ants they have competitions which consists of mostly jabbing at each other with their antenna, which I would say is a sort of ant fighting. Um, and then they do this for a while and, uh, and eventually a consensus is reached and one of the contestants is declared the winner. Although they say it’s still not clear how that decision comes about.

[00:09:18] I’d like to think in a large colony of ants, it’s probably quite democratic, but I don’t know if that’s true. Oh, they’ve got a queen. So maybe they have, yeah. It’s like a constitutional monarchy is what they have

[00:09:27] Dave: [00:09:27] Yeah, that’s what we have. Isn’t it.

[00:09:30] Sophie: [00:09:30] yeah, this is, I’m basing it on what we have. And so then when one is declared the winner and becomes the queen, something super weird happens to this ant body.

[00:09:39] Dave: [00:09:39] So, yeah,  they develop smaller brains.  Which seems to correspond with the change in their behavior. So they’ll now no longer deal with intruders or hunt, they’ll just run away. And it also makes them easier to reproduce because the brain will shrink up to 25% and they develop an increased number of Yogi herbicides in their ovaries, which is what the, what these researchers counted as a measure of ovarian activity.

[00:10:01]I just to clarify, is it it’s gamma gate, it’s not gamer gate.

[00:10:06] Sophie: [00:10:06] it is. So I looked this up because I thought gamer gate was a weird name to call this. Gamma gate is a mated workout that can reproduce sexually, it derives from the Greek words, gammas, meaning union or marriage and the word  meaning work worker or Workman. So basically it means married worker. So we’re assuming the queen is married, yeah, so that’s, so it’s gamma gate.

[00:10:27] I thought it was Gamergate and I went, what does this have to, so I think it was only coined in like the eighties or something, but, um,

[00:10:32] Dave: [00:10:32] It’s GAM it’s GAM or gate, not gamer gate, which was something that happened with the internet that I didn’t understand.

[00:10:39] Sophie: [00:10:39] Yeah, and I was, I didn’t know what that had to do with ants. so as is often happens, when we talk about biology things, and I’m not used to experimenting on animals, did you read about some of the, when they, I mean, obviously collecting data from ads and I was like, obviously they’re not keeping these ants alive cause they don’t know how you go in and, you know, look at their ovaries, I guess they’re quite small.

[00:10:57] So these are two of my favorites. I say favorite things that they did, but so when they were looking at the physiological trait measurements, the way they described it was individuals were incapacitated on ice and their heads, thorax and ghosted gases would dissected for subsequent analysis. The brain one, I really enjoyed briefly freshly decapitated heads were soaked in a fixative at four degrees Celsius overnight.

[00:11:20] And I’m like, Oh my God. So you’re doing all these things on these ants, but you’re killing them. But then I guess, you know, mathematician not used to doing things on animals, but it just seemed harsh they had to die for science.

[00:11:31] Dave: [00:11:31] it is it’s, it’s difficult. Uh, amazing. So in order to image the brains that you see how they image the brains, once they’ve done the decapitation. So they clear the brain. So this is the thing they do in neuroscience, where you soak head in this case in some chemicals that render the other tissues transparent.

[00:11:48] And that means you can penetrate it with light. So you can basically stain up for some molecules that you think are interesting or applicable in this scenario. So say neurons, for example, brain cells. And then you can actually just image through the whole heads to see the size of the brain. And thats how they counted the brain. And that’s cool and science-y and chemicals, but how they figured out that.

[00:12:08] So I mentioned the Yogi oocytes, the number of Yogi oocytes. That was a straight dissection of the ants. So I looked up these ants are about three quarters of an inch long. So whatever that is about 1.8 – 2 centimeters or something like that. So they dissected it under a microscope and took out the Yogi oocytes and then counted them under a microscope.

[00:12:28] That is some surgery. I mean, that is amazing.

[00:12:31] Sophie: [00:12:31] Imagine the dexterity you need  That’s

[00:12:35] Dave: [00:12:35] That’s someone who’s dumped all their skill points into dexterity.

[00:12:38]Sophie: [00:12:38] Oh, yeah, a hundred percent. And so just getting back to the way that they did this. So they’re looking at the plasticity, right? So this idea that these sort of organs and these things about these ants can change based on their function.

[00:12:47] So one of the things that they did is they took a bunch of female worker ants away from the colony and they isolated them. And then obviously, because now they’ve got a colony of worker ants and there’s no queen, they played their little game where they hit each other with their faces and antenna.

[00:13:01] And then you had one of these gamma gate Queens formed. Then they took that queen and put it back in the colonies. So what I presume has happened in that colonies since there was no queen, they created a new queen. And what they found was when they put this queen that they had created back into the colony, other workers would hold her in place and stop her from doing anything until she turned back into a worker.

[00:13:25] Dave: [00:13:25] That’s amazing. Right.

[00:13:27] Sophie: [00:13:27] Isn’t that crazy. So can you turn it from a worker into a queen? You can turn from a queen back into a worker. If they, you know, they’re decided it’s this, this foreign ant,  that’s not the queen what are they doing here? They’re exhibiting queen things quick hold her down searches stops

[00:13:40] Dave: [00:13:40] Yeah, don’t kill her. Like let’s not waste the good ants. Let’s just hold her down until she transforms herself back into a regular ant. And then we’ll put her back to work.

[00:13:49]Sophie: [00:13:49] Yeah. So apparently, yeah, we’ve not known about  this degree of plasticity in these ants before. And that’s, I mean, that’s crazy.

[00:13:56] Dave: [00:13:56] It’s amazing. It’s amazing. There are ants that sacrifice brains to become more fertile, but can undo it if necessary.

RC helicopter

[00:14:15]Sophie: [00:14:15] so this story, Dave, tell me about the story. Cause I know that you were excited about this. You were very, very excited and I want that

[00:14:22] excitement.

[00:14:23] Dave: [00:14:23] I’m excited about this. So we’ve done the first powered flight on another planet ever. Right? So. just over a hundred years ago, the first powered flight happened in America. It was  the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright. Who were bicycle mechanics and engineers. And they made this plane and they commissioned a special engine to, to run on this plane.

[00:14:45] and they put it on a rail in the ground and they flipped the coin for who was going to have a shot flying it. And they flew it for 12 seconds. It got 120 feet, and then they did it again. And again, basically figuring out flying as they went. And now just over a hundred years later, something similar, but altogether more technical has been done on an entirely different planet.

[00:15:04] Some mayor, hundred and 73 million miles away from where we currently are.

[00:15:12]Sophie: [00:15:12] That’s a fair distance, but yeah. The thing that I find quite,  not surprising, cause I, I, I know how fun planets work. It’s the fact that not only is this powered flight on another planet. It’s a planet with like a slightly problematic atmosphere for flying. And so that’s why I’m really, really impressed.

[00:15:28] So if you look at Mars, so is low gravity, which is, I mean, you think, you know, better for flight, but the atmosphere is about a hundred times thinner than Earth. So the comparison would be, if we’re talking about on earth, 16 kilometers above sea level is sort of how thin the air is. And we don’t usually send a helicopters up to 16 kilometers above sea level. I’ve managed to find, and this could be wrong because the internet is a dark hole of incorrect facts. But the attitude record held for helicopters about 12.4 kilometers from my understanding. So we say we can get a helicopter to 12.4 kilometers above sea level 16 km… nope. Air is too thin. So what we want is our flying machine to basically have like a lift force that is stronger than the force of gravity, pulling it down and lift force is directly proportional to density. So it’s a slightly more complicated equation, but it’s directly proportional to the density of the air, which means that the less dense the air is then the less lift you’re going to be able to get from that air.

[00:16:28] And the fact that we have low gravity on Mars means that it’s partially offset because you’re not getting pulled down as hard by gravity. But lift off from Mars surface has been described as equivalent to flying at 30 kilometers above the earth. So the fact that a helicopter has only got to 12.4 kilometers above the earth, and then the air gets too thin.

[00:16:49] And we need it to fight 30. But they’ve managed to do this and they’ve got this really cool sort of set up that they’ve got these counter-rotating blades that spin at 40 revolutions per second, which is very fast. I can’t do 40 anythings in one second.

[00:17:01]But yeah, the fact that they’ve  managed to make this thing fly on Mars and what I do love Dave, because I love a little fun fact, the helicopter road to Mars attach to the belly of the perseverance Rover, which I thought was charming.

[00:17:14] So they’ll perseverance Rover gave it like, yeah, it dinky read on the belly of the perseverance Rover.

[00:17:20] Dave: [00:17:20] It’s lovely. It’s really, really lovely. And so you mentioned how complicated it was. So the helicopter contains unique components, so they made a lot of things specially to do this, as well as off the shelf stuff. So many of which were from the smartphone industry where there’s obviously been a lot of. We want things to be smaller and faster and more heat dissapative on earth.

[00:17:38] And so that’s come in very handy for doing this. And this whole thing is part of what’s called NASA technology demonstration missions. So that’s basically the part of NASA that’s involved in doing pure, this is not just theory. We’re going to put it into practice, but we’re not yet using it on missions to do stuff.

[00:17:56]  all this Rover was built to do is fly on Mars. It has no instruments except for, I think it has an altimeter and some telemetry about what it’s doing. But it doesn’t have any purpose except to go to Mars and show that we can fly on Mars. So it’s a, it’s a means of bridging the gap between the purely theoretical to okay now we can do this. We’re going to use it to do something difficult and exciting on a different planet. Like fly around and get data.

[00:18:19]Sophie: [00:18:19] yeah. And knowing they can not fly around and get data. It can do it at an altitude of three meters, which is pretty high. Like it’s not like it just hovered. And then it’s not a 12 second in the air flight that then comes down like that’s, that’s significant for a 0.49 meters tall flying machine.

[00:18:37] Dave: [00:18:37] It’s amazing.  I also loved, so maybe to finish, I, I read this great quote about what they’re going to do next. Um, so Mimi on project manager of the Mars engineered at helicopter JPL. We will take a moment to celebrate our success and then take a cue from Orville and Wilbur regarding what to do next. History shows they got back to work to learn as much as they could about their new aircraft.

[00:18:58] And so will we

[00:18:59]Sophie: [00:18:59] that’s beautiful.

Joyful screams

[00:19:12] Dave: [00:19:12] Sophie, you’re a big fan of the horror genre. Aren’t you?

[00:19:15] Sophie: [00:19:15] Yes, I am.

[00:19:17] Dave: [00:19:17] And, and what happens when you go to the horror movie? Have you ever screamed in a horror movie? Like  what’s the biggest response you’ve ever had to a moment far?

[00:19:25] Sophie: [00:19:25] no. So I just went to see a horror movie last night, actually. And, uh, two of the jump scares got me, which was pretty good, but I really, I literally just jumped that doesn’t happen that often, because I feel like it can predict when a jump scare is happening. But it got me, my mother is the perfect audience member because she will react exactly how you want her to.

[00:19:42] So if she was sitting in that movie, when I jumped a hundred percent, she would have screamed at whatever happened. It would be a proper audible shriek of terror. So not me, but  Helen

[00:19:52]Dave: [00:19:52] Grand. So that would be an alarm scream. Wouldn’t it? A sort of horror scream would be an alarm screen. But researchers at the university of Zurich have shown and a study recently that joyful screams are actually perceived by others more strongly and more efficiently than screams of fear or anger or alarming screams.

[00:20:08]Sophie: [00:20:08] Yeah. and the thing that worried me in the beginning, because if you think about it, if I’m screaming out in, in terror or alarm, I might need help. And apparently other people’s brains care less about that than if I’m screaming out in like joy.

[00:20:22] Dave: [00:20:22] Yes. So what these researchers did was they defined a bunch of screams and actually that what they did was they got actors in to produce screams.

[00:20:30]Sophie: [00:20:30] Yeah, this bit bothered me because really the whole study is based on the ability of these actors to correctly reproduce a certain type of screen. Cause I was thinking about it. And if someone said Sophie, do it like a joyous scream or so the examples where they gave these actors short instructions so they can imagine something and then react to that. So for a fearful scream, you are being attacked by an armed stranger in a dark alley was one of these examples. And if someone’s tells me to scream like that, I don’t think I could. Like, I think I would have to be attacked by a stranger in a dark alley to produce that scream

[00:21:05] but I guess actors that’s their job and they can do that. And so I actor’s that that just that I was like, okay, actors, they can, it’s

[00:21:11] Dave: [00:21:11] That’s their job. That’s the job. So they did, they got the actors in and in defense of the actors, they might be able to do it. And also in defense of the authors, the authors do mention, Oh yeah, we had acted screams in so that we could kind of design this study with what they call  the intention of the scream in place beforehand.

[00:21:27] So you could say as if this, as if that, so it was angry or intimidating or a pleasure scream, eh, for example, you are screaming from sexual delight. Yeah. Yeah. So if it, if we refer it to pleasure, screams at any point during this, it’s not pleasure, is it, Oh, you got the job. It’s, you’re getting absolutely rattled and you’re having a good time. so.

[00:21:48] Sophie: [00:21:48] not like the pleasure scream when I see candy and I go, Oh, I want

[00:21:52] Dave: [00:21:52] No, that’s not, that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about something far. Good. So, so they got actors in to produce these. And we had six different kinds that were classified as either alarm or non alarm vocal signals. So the alarm ones were pain, fear and anger and the non alarm ones were pleasure, sadness and joy.

[00:22:11] And basically they got people who are played these signals to categorize them as alarming or not alarming. And the response time was measured and they were also placed in an fMRI machine, which is a machine that measures blood flow in the brain. And so as a, a kind of proxy of brain activity and looked at what bits of the brain lit up.

[00:22:31] And what they found was people responded much more quickly to non alarming things. And there was stronger brain connectivity between different bits of the brain in non alarming situations than in alarming situations, which is, seems backwards.

[00:22:44]Sophie: [00:22:44] Yeah. And then, the conclusions from this was sort of that humans compared to non-human animals have slightly more complex demands when they’re communicating. And  we’ve evolved to have to be more highly attuned to different kinds of screams.

[00:23:01] Is

[00:23:01] Dave: [00:23:01] Okay. That’s, that’s the idea. And that’s what they say. And that’s a reasonable thing to say, I think. But I have a little bone to pick with this paper, which is that right? Because if you read the paper and I have.  The bits of the brain, they look at completely exclude. So the partial volume covered the superior of temporal cortex, the IFC and medial limbic system, ie the amygdala, which means they didn’t look at the brainstem at all. And I wonder two things. So I wonder if, so with the response time response times, what they call efficiency. If you play someone an alarming thing, Maybe they’re inducing a slight kind of fear freeze response. So when you hear something alarming, you know, when you hear something alarming, like an unknown noise, what you tend to do is you freeze and you look. So I wonder if, if actually when you play someone, something alarming, maybe they stop.

[00:23:47] And there’s a delay because they’re inducing a bit of a fear response. But the other thing is, they’ve excluded the brainstem entirely from what they’ve looked at. And  if you did look at the brainstem, what might be happening is that these alarm signals might be going to bits of the brain, like the brainstem that are involved in preparing you to do something very, very soon.

[00:24:06] So they might be going to the bits of the brain that will change the blood flow to your muscles, speed up your heart, those kinds of things, because the brainstem also has connections to the higher up bits of brain. So maybe they don’t see as much connectivity between the bits of the brain they’ve looked at for the alarm situation, but maybe there’s increased connectivity with the brainstem.

[00:24:24] That’s going, it’s going to the brainstem and then going up rather than just going up to the bits of the brain that get activated by the pleasure stuff.

[00:24:31]Sophie: [00:24:31] Yeah. Interesting. And I also had my bone to pick is far less technical, but I think my dog can scream with joy. Right. So, her name’s Myf, which is very enthusiastic when it comes to a treat, and if there’s anything that maybe has kangaroo tail in it, she’s super, super excited. And she starts with, you know, it’s like a little bit of a whimper, but then I would say it would get to dog scream level.

[00:24:51] And so then I actually to go and look up what the definition of a scream was and whether or not my dog could scream. And apparently a scream is just a loud vocalization in which air is passed through the vocal folds with greater force than is used in regular or close distance vocalization. So I think myth.

[00:25:05] Can scream with joy if she sees a treat. So I dunno, if they’ve not said category  that it’s only non-human animals that scream in different ways. Rather than just, you know, in terms of alarm or social conflict or something like that or predators. But yeah, I’m pretty sure that dogs can scream too, is what I’m bringing to the table right now.

[00:25:24] Dave: [00:25:24] Well, yeah. And they mentioned that they mentioned that all animals seem to vocalize alarm and they mentioned primates. And how primates seem to mostly scream from alarm

[00:25:33]Sophie: [00:25:33] and so, um, yeah, she screams from alarm to but i reckon  she screams with joy or anticipation. What? Pleasure. No, wait, not that it’s not that

[00:25:42] Dave: [00:25:42] It’s not the pleasure that we

[00:25:44] Sophie: [00:25:44] It’s the pleasure. That’s

[00:25:46] Dave: [00:25:46] mean, I mean, dogs make other dogs, you know what I mean, puppies go get made somehow. And,

[00:25:51] Sophie: [00:25:51] Yeah, but not with a kangaroo treat. That’s not about business.

[00:25:58] So there you go. Humans are more  to positive screams than negative screams. So I’m, I don’t know. Maybe if you’re being attacked in a dark alley in the future, scream like a you’re experiencing great joy or sadness,

[00:26:16] Dave: [00:26:16] Like your favorite team has won the world cup or you are screening from sexual delight.

[00:26:20]Sophie: [00:26:20] Yep. And someone will come and help you because they’re more attuned to listen.


[00:26:24]  Dave: [00:26:34] And thank you for listening to another fun episode of STEMology. Be sure to check out the links to all these great stories on our show notes. Go visit www.stemology.com.au

[00:26:44]Sophie: [00:26:44] if you have any news, you think is STEM ology worthy. Drop us an email at  stemology@ramaley.media.

[00:26:51] Would love to give you a mention.

[00:26:52] Your hosts have been Dr. David Farmer and Dr. Sophie Calabretto.

[00:26:56]We look forward to sharing the latest in all things, science, technology, engineering, and maths with you next week.

[00:27:02] And be sure to bring your friends.