Ask Sam: Trichomes, Bug Hair, Bug Tumors & Mollusk Shells

Ask Sam: that special time when scientists worldwide cringe as Sam & the team speculate wildly on a diverse range of topics before picking up the phone to call in the real experts. 

This time, we've got another hirsute mystery: Are insect and plant hairs also made from the magical (seeming) protein called keratin? Also, do bugs get cancer? And which came first: the chachalaca (not a typo) or the turkey? And finally, why do ocean mollusks have tougher shells than their freshwater comrades?

The Ask Sam Hotline (1-844-GO-OTTER) is always open, so do your best to stump the gang and send us down another (figurative or literal) rabbit-hole!

Outside/In was produced this week by:

Outside/In was produced this week by Taylor Quimby and Sam Evans-Brown with help from: Erika Janik, Maureen McMurray, Taylor Quimby, Justine Paradis, Hannah McCarthy,  and Jimmy Gutierrez.

Special thanks to our braniacs for this episode: Rob Last at MSU, Cole Gilbert of Cornell, Pawel Michalak of the Biocomplexity Institute, Frank Horne of Texas State University, and the noble Chachalaca.

Our theme music is by Breakmaster Cylinder.

Our Ask Sam theme was composed by Taylor Quimby.

If you’ve got a question for our Ask Sam hotline, give us a call! We’re always looking for rabbit holes to dive down into. Leave us a voicemail at: 1-844-GO-OTTER (844-466-8837). Don’t forget to leave a number so we can call you back.