Wait Wait's Animal Kingdom Lonely sea creatures get busy; the critical intersection between fish and the presidency.
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Wait Wait's Animal Kingdom

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Wait Wait's Animal Kingdom

Wait Wait's Animal Kingdom

Wait Wait's Animal Kingdom

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Lonely sea creatures get busy; the critical intersection between fish and the presidency.

CARL KASELL, Host:

Of course, we're not just interested in contemporary animals. We're interested in prehistoric creatures as well. Here's a question from February of 2009, posed to Roy Blount Jr. while Paul Provenza and Roxanne Roberts kibitzed.

PETER SAGAL, Host:

Roy, according to research published in the science journal Nature, it was just 380 million years ago that two lonely sea creatures did what for the first time?

M: Two lonely school teachers?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: No.

M: Sea creatures, sea creatures.

SAGAL: Sea creatures, sea creatures.

M: Sea creatures.

SAGAL: Sea creatures.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: I guess your version could have happened as well.

M: I had an answer for the school teachers. I don't know.

M: Well, a lot of sea creatures are found in schools.

M: There you go, that's true. That's true.

M: I think I read this. I think - was it intercourse?

SAGAL: You're right, yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Scientists...

M: I was going to say that for the school teachers.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: I should have just gone ahead and answered, and we could have moved on by now.

SAGAL: Scientists have wondered where mating actually evolved, and they now believe it was longer ago than they thought. They've been studying the fossils of the shark-like placoderms; that's a now-extinct fish. And they found what they believe to be fossilized evidence that those ancient fish actually mated. Prior to this discovery, most researchers believe copulation began sometime around 1964.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: Yeah.

SAGAL: On or around the release of the first Rolling Stones record.

M: Right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: You can't just say that. Like, oh, they think it happened - and what makes them think that?

SAGAL: Well, good question. There are two things.

M: Okay.

SAGAL: First of all, they found some rather complicated, technical, anatomical features in the fossils that are common to fish that were able to do that. And also, they found a fossilized letter from a magazine called Placoderm Forum.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And it starts: This has never happened before but...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SAGAL: We also covered the important area where fish intersect politics. It was on this show from May of 2006 - a show with Adam Felber, Roy Blount Jr., and Paula Poundstone.

Adam, when asked to name the highlight of their presidencies, Jimmy Carter said it was the Camp David peace accords. Bill Clinton said it was ending the war in the Balkans. Well, in an interview just this week with a German magazine, President Bush was asked to name the highlight of his presidency. He thought about it, and then answered what?

M: I'm president?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: Wow, I should throw me a party or something. No, no, no, he said it was catching - what was it - a 7-and-a-half pound perch in his own lake.

SAGAL: That's what it was.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

M: And I'd like to defend the president on this. I think he was right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: He was asked about the best moment of his presidency and he said - I quote - You know, I've experienced many great moments, and it's hard to name the best. I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7-and-a-half pound perch in my lake - unquote.

M: Before he caught the perch, he tried diplomacy.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And he said, you know...

M: He gave it a chance.

SAGAL: I know. He said, but what was I supposed to do, trust the word of a mad fish?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: There's a big "Mission Accomplished" sign over the lake.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

M: Boy, that aircraft carrier barely fit in that lake, didn't it?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: It was supposed to say fishing accomplished.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

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