True facts about the seahorse

Another excellent effort from the “True facts about. . . ” biology series. It’s getting quite popular: this one was posted four days ago, and already has over 330,000 views on YouTube.

I will take that to mean that more people are appreciating science.

h/t: Ant


  1. Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink


  2. Florian
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Seahorses are very odd. What are some of their closer relatives?

  3. Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    “Imagine the business-end of a chicken…” He’s lost me. Not only do I not know which end of a chicken is the business end, I don’t know what business a chicken has.

    Something I’ve never seen explained: sea-horses seem to have an exoskeleton, that people often keep as memento mori of the sea-horse. How does that happen, and how do they stay flexible?

    • Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      I have a couple of dead seahorses that I found years ago while beachcombing. The skin dries, stiffens, and stretches over the bones, making it look like an “exoskeleton” but it’s really the whole critter, just mummified.

    • Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Probably flexible keratin. No doubt, you’ve found an old, but still intact, fingernail clipping every once in a while. Still flexy!

      Or, the skin is delicate chitin (related to keratin but stronger).

      Yeah, I agree…the “business end of a chicken” lost me too

      • dinosaurjrjr
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        Chitin on a vertebrate? Homie don’t play that.

    • jesse
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      I am old enough to remember when dried seahorses were sold in a five-and-dime store as curiosities, next to seashells. Dried seahorses are used in Asian medicine (an aphrodesiac or something rather ridiculous, sort of like rhino horns are believed to have some properties or other). Some seahorse species are endangered because of this, and there are CITES rules for some… I don’t know details. Wikipedia page has info near the bottom on this topic if you want to read more.

  4. Mark
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    On the other hand, this means more people don’t see anything wrong with the redundant phrase “true facts” 🙂

    • Achrachno
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been handed a lot of facts that turned out not to be true. I prefer the true facts to that other kind.

  5. Tulse
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    I’m guessing that popularity of the series has a lot to do with its creator, the legendary Ze Frank, and less to do with biology.

    • Achrachno
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

      Humor outweighs science in these things c. 10:1 I’d guess. That’s not a criticism.

  6. Dominic
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    I am all in favour of popularising biology or any other science. The more people understand, the better.

    • Dominic
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:08 am | Permalink

      Sorry, I has just dawned on me that that phrase is so bland as to be pointless! There cannot be anyone who visits WEIT who would not want a wider interest in the sciences from our fellows.

  7. Gayle
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 4:06 am | Permalink

    I was distracted all the way through by the narrator’s strange pronunciation of the word ‘horse’. “Sea-whores” anybody?

    • jesse
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      I heard it like that too, all the way through except for once near the end. It was distracting for me too. He is a comedian whom I’d never heard of before; maybe it was on purpose. His voiceover has a sarcastic or sardonic tone which I admit is funny for this series (JAC posted the one on fish a few wks. ago, I think).

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