It’s time for the Fun Kids Science Weekly, the weekly podcast that opens your minds to the most amazing things in the universe!
We hear all about the biggest triceratops ever found called Big John from Professor Ruggero Danastasio to chat about the incredible wounds this beast endured and what we can learn from this.
In Science in the News we hear about no mow may and new information with the life expectancy of dogs…. can you guess which breed has the longest life expectancy?
We answer your questions, this week we find out how long we can survive without a spacesuit and why woodpeckers peck!
We also catch up with Professor Hallux and Nurse Nanobot in their Map of Medicine this week its on how different people talk, and in our new Deep Space High Series we learn all about the structure of our earth!
Here’s the episode below:
Dan: Hello, welcome along to a brand new episode of The Fun Kids Science Weekly. My name is Dan. Thank you for being there. It’s the show where we have a little snoop around the solar system, learning all the science secrets that are lurking here and there. This week, you can hear all about a big dinosaur battle. We’ll chat to a genius about a Triceratops called Big John, who was found with a huge hole in its head. And experts think they finally figured out why…
Were they carnivores?
Professor Ruggero: No, they were herbivores.
Dan: Really? That surprises me because they look quite mean, don’t they? So the fact that they only ate plants.
Also, we’ll head to Deep Space High, the smartest school in the universe, to learn all about water here on Earth.
Professor Pulsar: This storm gives us a great opportunity to think about one of the most precious substances in the universe – liquid water.
Sam: Doesn’t feel very precious, just feels cold and wet.
Dan: And I’ll answer your questions as always. This week they are on space suits and woodpeckers. That’s all on the way. And a brand new Fun Kids Science Weekly.
Science in the News: Life Expectancy of Dogs Ranked, No Mow May, and James Webb Telescope is now fully focussed
Dan: Let’s kick things off with your science in the news. A new study has ranked the life expectancy of Dogs. It shows a Jack Russell Terrier is expected to live the longest, followed insecurities by a Yorkshire Terrier and then a Border Collie.
Now, flat-faced dogs like Bulldogs and Pugs, they sadly have the shortest life expectancy.
Also, gardeners are being created to let their lawns grow in May to promote biodiversity. The charity Plant Life want you to get involved with No Mow May and not cut grass in gardens. This will help out bees and insects. And they want you to count the amount of flowers that will grow so they can see what wildlife is like at the moment.
And finally, we’ve heard so much about this, The James Webb Space Telescope, the Super Space Spotter. It’s now fully focused and everything is lined up. Light bounces perfectly off its mirrors back to the telescope cameras. It cost over $10 billion. And now it’s ready to get to work, where it will have a look at the oldest stars in the universe.
Let’s catch up with Professor Hallux. Now, this is from his Map of Medicine series. He’s here with Nurse Nanobot, his good friend. They’re looking at what makes you sick, and then who makes you feel better again? This time out, he’s learning all about eczema and the doctors who look after your skin, hair and nails.
Professor Hallux’s Map of Medicine – Episode 14: Eczema and the Dermatologists
Professor Hallux: What’s that noise? We’ve got mice, Nanobot. I can hear squeaking.
Nurse: It’s not mice. It’s me, Prof. I’ve got a rusty rash on my plutonium panels. It’s so itchy pass me that screwdriver.
Professor Hallux: Here you go. Quick repair job?
Nurse: Nooooo. I’m going to have a good scratch. Oooh magic, that is.
Professor Hallux: You probably shouldn’t scratch it, Nurse. It’ll only make it worse if it’s anything like the scratchy skin conditions humans get like eczema, not Xmas, Eczema!
Nurse: Oh, yes, I know all about eczema. I’ll give you the clinical crunch in a jiffy. Just need another quick scratch.
Eczema is a very common skin complaint that can run in families. It’s also connected with asthma and allergies, so if you’ve got one, you might have the others too. Not a very nice gang. It gives you red and raw itchy skin, sometimes circular patches, and you can get it anywhere. It’s important to remember that you can’t catch it from other people, not even if you had a really big cuddle and a kiss with someone who had it.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure to eczema, but it might make you feel better to know that there are many ways of controlling it. The even better news is that most children with atopic eczema improve as they get older, with three quarters being clear by their teens.
Professor Hallux: But one thing is guaranteed to make it worse. And you know what that is?
Nurse: Yes, I know scratching makes rashes worse, but it feels so nice!
Professor Hallux: Give me that screwdriver. Come on, hand it over. Thank you. And find some oil instead.
Nurse: Oh, all right.
Now, eczema is pretty straightforward to treat normally, but what if you get a rash? That’s a bit more of a mystery.
Professor Hallux: Then you need a super skin scientist called a dermatologist. That’s what. Let’s find out more on the map of medicine. It’s a mine of info about medical people. Here we go. Dermatologists don’t just get to the bottom of scratchy skin or strange spots. They’re experts in hair and nails, too. So if your fingernails keep splitting or fall off or are a funny colour, or your hair is falling out or you have an itchy scalp, all these things are the sorts of ailments that dermatologists can help with.
Blimey. I hope no one has all those things at once. That would be pretty horrible, wouldn’t it? It’s the dermatologist’s job to get to the bottom of what’s causing the ailment and where possible, to make it better. Sometimes dermatologists use their amazing superpower to work out what the problem is.
And the amazing superpower is…having a good look. Okay, that doesn’t sound very amazing or like a superpower, but it’s a good starting place because there are over 2,000 skin complaints. And often a dermatologist can work out which one you have just by the shape and pattern of a rash. Isn’t that amazing? If they can’t figure it out, or if they want to be sure, they might look at a sample of skin or hair or nail under a microscope. This is a great way to spot any tiny parasites who may be causing the mayhem. Many are far too small to be seen with the naked eye.
If it’s still a head scratcher for you and the dermatologist, they may send a sample to the laboratory to be tested. And when they know who or what they’re dealing with, then they can get rid of it or try to. At least now I don’t think they’re likely to blast anything into orbit like that. The real treatments tend to be a bit less exciting. Medicine creams or ointments you can apply at home.
Sometimes there may be treatments that the dermatologist will administer in a clinic using special chemicals or lasers on your skin, or occasionally an operation if there’s something nasty that needs evicting. So you don’t have to suffer in silence with sinister spots, there’s all sorts of dermatologists can do for you. Now how about a deliciously, disgusting fact to finish off with nurse?
Nurse: Now normally you can’t catch diseases from your pets, but there’s an itchy little pest they’re only too happy to share. Any ideas?
It’s fleas! It’s fleas. Fleas are pretty amazing. They can jump over a hundred times their own height, which is like you jumping over a huge block of flats. But they bite animals and people, too, leaving really, itchy bite marks. If you’ve been nibbled and have a pet cat or dog, then you’ll need to see the vet, not a dermatologist. Vets can give you drops for your pet. And with some flea spray to treat your house, you’ll all be wagging your tails again soon.
Professor Hallux: Ooh, I’m all itchy now time for us to go. But before you join us again, why not explore Map of Medicine for yourself?
Answering Your Questions: How long can a human being survive in space without a spacesuit? & How do woodpeckers make holes in trees?
Dan: Let’s get to your questions then. If there’s something sciencey that you want answered on this show, leave it as a review for me on Apple podcasts. Find the Fun Kids Science Weekly on there. There’s a little comment box at the bottom. That’s where you leave your question as a review. Give us five stars as well so I can see it. Imogen has done that. She’s in Yeovil. Imogen wants to know. It’s quite gruesome this. How long can a human being survive in space without a spacesuit?
Not long. And it’s a little bit gross, really. The air in your body will expand if you set foot outside of your rocket without a spacesuit. Because space is a vacuum, all the air in you tries to fill the gaps, and that means you get bigger. You balloon up to double your size, and then you can’t get any air to your brain because there’s no oxygen left in you. So you’ll probably pass out after about 15 seconds. And then you’ll float away this big balloon. And then because it’s so cold in space, you’ll freeze solid in about 12 hours. And that’s how it ends for you. Thank you, Imogen.
Next up this week is from Xavier, who wants to know, how do woodpeckers make holes in trees? Well, they peck holes in trees for three reasons. Number one, to find small creatures to eat. Number two, to find a space to make a nest, and three, to talk to each other. Who would have thought these birds communicate with those sounds?
Now, most birds have four toes, three in front, one in the back. A woodpecker has two in the front and two in the back. It helps them grip onto branches to quickly hammer away. Now they make their hole by quickly smashing their beak back and forward into the tree. And they’ve got a special muscle at the back of the jaw that helps them do that. It’s like a bumper on a car. It absorbs the shock.
And their tongue is amazing, too. It wraps around their brain, inside their head to give it more protection when they hammer their beak into the bark. Sometimes they have to withstand a force that’s over 1,000 times the strength of gravity. Xavier, thank you for the question. If there’s something you’d like answered on the show next week, let me know on Apple podcasts, leave us a review.
Interview with Professor Ruggero Danastasio
Dan: It’s the Fun Kids Science Weekly. Now experts have been looking at a skeleton of a Triceratops, and they’ve found it’s got a hole in its ear and they think it might have come from battle. Ruggero Danastasio is a paleopathologist from Italy and joins us now. Ruggero, thank you for being there.
Professor Ruggero: It’s a pleasure.
Dan: Now your job, you study injuries in ancient animals. What different creatures have you seen?
Professor Ruggero: I studied human remains, first of all, and animal remains with paleopathological signs. I studied, for example, other dinosaurs, mammals, ancient mammals, birds and other kind of reptiles.
Dan: Now today we’re talking about a Triceratops. Can you just tell us about what the Triceratops was like as a dinosaur? How long ago did it live? Where would we find it? What did it eat? Just tell us all about that, Ruggero.
Professor Ruggero: Yes. Big John was found in South Dakota, USA. A colleague of mine acquired the fossil remains that arrived in Italy, 2014. We restored the skeletons and studied its anthropometric characteristics and palopathological signs. Triceratops are herbivores animals, very large. And they live in North America.
Dan: Were they carnivores?
Professor Ruggero: No, they were herbivores.
Dan: Really? That surprises me because they look quite mean, don’t they? So the fact that they only ate plants really does surprise me. So tell us about Big John then. Was it a huge creature?
Professor Ruggero: Yes, it was a huge creature, very big. It was a male individual, adult male individual, and with a big frill and a very long big horn.
Dan: Can I ask, Ruggero, why was it called Big John?
Professor Ruggero: Because the specimen is the biggest one discovered until now among triceratops.
Dan: Now you found that it had a hole in its frill. What do you think caused towards that whole Ruggero?
Professor Ruggero: The holes in its frill is traumatic lesions. We suppose was the consequence of a combat, of a fighting between two large animals, two triceratops, more or less of the same size. The opening in the frill is a total lesion because we noticed the presence of new bone formation. So the lesion was in a phase of healing.
Dan: This hole has been made. You think while it was fighting another Triceratops and the hole was trying to heal itself and make new bone there. That’s what you figured out.
Professor Ruggero: Yes.
Dan: How did you find that Ruggero? What are you looking at?
Professor Ruggero: We suppose that the hole was caused by another triceratops because the size and the dimensions of the hole fits with the ones of a big horn of triceratops of the same size. We simulated the fighting using a cast of a big horn, and we realised that the dimension of these being’s horn match perfectly with the whole found in the frill of Big John.
Dan: Wow. So another creature would have stuck it’s horn right through the skin. This happened millions of years ago, so we don’t know. But what do you think these two creatures would have been fighting over?
Professor Ruggero: We can imagine that the creatures fought for the habitat, for example, or to conquer female individuals, for example. We don’t know exactly the reason of the fighting. Anyway, we can imagine that maybe they fight to be the leader of a group, for example.
Dan: That happens quite a lot, doesn’t it? So status home or maybe getting a girlfriend. Well, Ruggero, listen, it’s been so fun to chat about Big John with you. Thank you for joining us.
Professor Ruggero: It was a pleasure. Thank you for your invitation.
Dangerous Dan: Venus
Dan: It’s time for this week’s Dangerous Dan. We look at the most mean and deadly things in the universe. And this week we’re headed out to the hottest planet in the solar system.
Strangely, the second closest planet to the Sun, Venus, takes that Crown. It’s weird, isn’t it? It’s even more sizzling than Mercury. That’s closer to the Sun. Venus is much hotter because it’s got a thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide. And all that gas traps the heat in and it bubbles and it boils away. The ground is a rusty colour. It’s covered in crunched mountains and thousands of huge volcanoes.
Now, this area so thick, the atmosphere itself would crush you. If you ever visited Venus, even before the heat fries you, you’ll be squashed by how thick and heavy the air is. Now, we don’t know too much about Venus.
The longest time any robot we have sent there has managed to last is about 2 hours. And then it got so hot, well, it broke. It reaches 860 degrees Fahrenheit, which is eight times a boiling hot day here on planet Earth. The moment you touch down, you would be crushed, you would be fried instantly. And that means Venus, the second closest planet to the sun, goes straight onto our dangerous Dan list.
We went to space for our dangerous down this week and let’s stay there now. We’re headed to Deep Space High, the smartest school in the solar system, with Professor Pulsar, who’s teaching us all about the different types of water on Earth. Ice, steam, and even snow.
Deep Space High Earth Watch – Episode 4: Rain, Water and Ice
Sam: I wish this storm would go away. We can’t get on with our Earth watch trip because it’s tipping down.
Professor Pulsar: You’re showing a severe lack of imagination there, Sam. This storm gives us a great opportunity to think about one of the most precious substances in the universe – liquid water.
Sam: Doesn’t feel very precious, just feels cold and wet. Let’s get indoors.
Professor Pulsar: Liquid water covers over 70% of the Earth’s surface. Without it, there wouldn’t be much life on Earth.
Sam: So if we ever wanted to live on a different planet, we’d have to find one with liquid water on it.
Professor Pulsar: That’s right. Although it’s going to be hard to find a place like that. The atmosphere on Earth is pretty rare, actually. There are only a handful of other planets that is believed to have similar ones.
Sam: Why do you keep saying liquid water? Are there other kinds? Oh, hang on. Steam from a kettle is water, isn’t it?
Professor Pulsar: Yep. Technically, that’s water vapour, but you get the idea. Or maybe you fancy a nice cold drink, maybe with some ice cubes in?
Sam: Oh, right. Ice is water, too. Just solid, not liquid.
Professor Pulsar: That’s right. Same molecule. H2O. There’s another solid type of water, one we all hope we get at Christmas.
Sam: Snow! I feel sorry for other planets not having snow.
Professor Pulsar: Hey, who says they don’t have snow?
Sam: Well, if other planets don’t have liquid water on their surfaces, how can they have snow and ice?
Professor Pulsar: Water is only a liquid at certain pressures and temperatures. The conditions on Earth are just right for it to be liquid. But on other planets, the conditions may only be right for water as ice. Did you know that Comets are thought to be massive hurtling blocks of ice? Mars also has water ice at its poles. You may also find snow made of water on some planets.
Sam: But no watery rain? Well, I suppose that’s good in a way. At least I can leave my umbrella at home if I go visiting other planets.
Professor Pulsar: Not so fast! You do get rain on other planets, but it may be made of other liquids. Seriously yucky liquids. On Venus, it rains acid that would melt your umbrella before it melted you. On Saturn, its storm clouds are loaded with ammonia, a poisonous and very smelly chemical.
Sam: Maybe the storm here on Earth isn’t so bad. Hey, here’s a joke for you. What goes up when the rain comes down? An umbrella.
Professor Pulsar: That is terrible. If you carry on telling jokes like that, I think I’ll go and stand in the storm. It will be more fun.
Dan: And that’s it for this week’s Fun Kids Science Weekly. Thank you so much for listening. If there’s a question you want answered on the show, leave it as a review for me over on Apple podcasts. Find us on there. There’s little comment box at the bottom. That’s where you leave your question. Drop me a name as well so I can say hello and five stars will really help me see it. While you’re on Apple there’s loads of brilliant podcasts that you can listen to there from us. You can also get them on Google on Spotify and on the free Fun Kids app and Fun Kids – we are a children’s radio station from the UK. You can listen all around the country on your dab digital radio and at funkidslive.com.Add a comment