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From the Vault: Christmas Island Crabs, Part 2


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It's seeing these some of these marvelous creatures firsthand so that was delightful and then hopefully it will hear all new stories with reentering these. This episode was originally titled Christmas Island. Crabs part two Colon Decca Decca pod. y'All I believe it was so hold still while the claw closes around and you welcome to stuff to blow your mind from how stuff works DOT com. Hey welcome to stuff to blow your mind. My name is Robert Lamm Joe McCormick and its giant. Crabs time. That's right we are continuing our exploration of Christmas Island. And if you're asking yourself wait guys whereas Christmas Island what are you talking about. Well then that means we need to go back and listen to the episode that published right before this one because that one will explain where Christmas Island is. What it's whole deal is with the human history happens to be concerning Christmas Island and we go in depth about the red crab of Christmas Island? It's most singular and famous deck abide inhabitant evident now it has another dead inhabitant. This is by no means limited to Christmas Island Certainly not to the extent that the Christmas Island Red Crab is in that other DECAPA. Inhabitant is the coconut crab or the robber crab which is another glorious Claude Crustacean on in its own now I have to admit even though as we mentioned the previous episode. There's virtually nothing Christmas Lee Bow Christmas Island other than the fact that the guy who named it happened to name it on Christmas Day. I think you decided like back in June like well when when it's time for Christmas we're just GonNa talk about crabs. Yeah it's enough. It's enough of of a reason for me and I have to admit that I keep hearing the Christmas Song Christmas Island in my head is I'm thinking about this easy to eat. What is that Don? Oh it's a IT'S A. I can't remember who recorded originally but I think like bing crosby did a version of it Leeann red bone fabulous version of it in the silliest cheesy song about weirdly about like having some sort of an ideal fantasy Christmas on some distant island but also some this whole bit about how. It's going to keep your woman from straying from you. What Yeah Yeah? I didn't really notice this part of until I started reading the lyrics but it's like you'll never stray because it's GonNa be Christmas every day which is weird but this reminds me of another Christmas Song. It on purpose to be creepy creepy crispus. There is there is A. I've been listening to a lot of our EMBI like older R&B kind of Christmas songs and the place I wanted the film. FM's channels yeah and there was one. I was listening to the other day and it had a similar thing. It was like baby. You're never gonNA leave me because when with me. It's Christmas every day. We seem like a very bold promise to try and make to your perspective girlfriend or wife the NOG never stops. We'll we'll have eggnog. Every day there will be a tree alive Christmas tree in the House every day. It's a high bar. I have a live in Santa but it made me think well. What if Christmas Island was actually about Christmas Island? We may end up cutting this. I don't know how to sound but but I think it would go something like this. How do you like to Dag the halls with the dagger pods? How'd you like to see a crab so big Goo worship it as a if you average spend Christmas on Christmas Island and you will never sleep. You'll probably we put robber. Crabs come for you. How because because you there's another verse July Care Area like the robber crabs do? How'd you like to see them? Snip bake coconut directly into. If you have to spend Christmas on Christmas Island you will never ever sleep. You'll probably we put Robert Crabs for you. Can I applaud now again. We may cut that but hopefully it'll become a standard. Oh what do you think is the longest period of unbroken singing. That has ever happened on this podcast before. Oh probably from of when Julie. Douglas was one of the the host. Oh did she sing she she. She did have a knack for the busting into show tunes. Well wait I don't know if they were show tents but I did have a knack for bursting into song. Well I really appreciate that this art you've just shared with a and it raises so many interesting questions. Like how big would a crab half to be before you worshiped it as a God. Well if you look up a picture of the robber crab or the coconut crab specifically if it is Next to human being or on something that you know the size for like a garbage can. Unfortunately I gotTa Break Your Heart Robert There is a viral image. You've probably seen scene of a coconut crab or robber. Crab on a garbage can and unfortunately in that image the garbage can is a smaller than average garbage can. It's still a garbage can getting a little bit of a skewed perspective. Okay well there. I saw a picture of one of these crabs. Fix to tree next to Brian Cox. Not The actor Brian Cox. Oh what a shame. Science scientists and science communicator. Brian Cox and I would say that it looks big enough in that in that particular photo to worship. Oh these these things are plenty big. Yeah I can see people worshiping so okay we. We've mentioned several times today. We're GONNA be talking about the coconut crab or the robber crab this Burgas Lotto and it is the largest land dwelling arthropods on earth. Though a technically not a true crab they are Deca pod. Crustaceans but not a member of the infor order BRAC era which is what true crabs are but. If you don't tattle on us we can call them crafts today. right right. If hermit crabs are cold crabs. I mean they're not technically crabs but we call them crabs. Yeah coconut crabs we can call them craft loosely referred to as craps And even in in some of the you know the more scientific literature we're looking at here they'll still just go ahead and calm crap they notice. Yeah so if it is the largest land dwelling arthropods on earth. How how big is that? Right how big do you have to be well. A standard adult robber crab is about one meter or about forty inches measured from the tips of the legs. They can weigh about four point five kilograms for almost ten pounds and that is a big arthropods to be on land right. They're not the largest arthropods ever ever overall the largest ever that we know about was probably a jaekle authorised which is this extinct genus of sea. Scorpion that probably got about a two point. Eight five meters long. These things were gigantic. terrifying wonderful extinct creatures The largest today in terms of leg span is the Japanese spider crab crab which can in extreme cases leg spin of almost four meters But it's also kind of spidery big skinny legs so it's it depends on on how you count size. The those big spider crabs. They kind of look like they're the The skeleton for a tent right. It's like they're they're in a contest has to get measured biggest by leg span alone right So I guess it all depends on how you're measuring but being the largest land dwelling arthropods. I think is something very special on. Its own because as we've often discussed psychologically I think to us see is still very much that other world where strange and unfamiliar lifeforms arms are expected. There okay right. It's okay with you that there are sharks in the sea but if there were sharks on land it would not be okay with you in the same is true for for large. Crustaceans when you see a meter long. DECA pod walking around in your front yard and you haven't grown up around creatures like this you may feel. You've been transported reported to an atomic age monster movie like something is wrong. You know I realized that people who live close to to to the sea around around crafts they may be more used to find the occasional crab indoors. The occasional land crab walking around in their house. I always still when it happens to me like on vacation. Some wearing a crab is in the house. It is an exciting and special treat. Yeah and and I have to say that when my wife and I went on our honeymoon to your Lapa Mexico uh-huh just a little island so again the kind of place where land crabs have a field day and indeed our our journey. There seemed to time nicely sleep with this. Surge of tiny land crabs that were just walking all over the place and since we're staying in this kind of height type structure that was right right on the beach during the night. Crabs would be all over the floor while to the to the point where you had to be careful. You're stepping because you might step on. A crab is watching Chink and climb into bed with your or anything but it was still. It was quite a crazy environment to find myself in. Wait how did you prevent them from getting getting in bed with you. But they just didn't didn't seem like they're really climbers the crap. We're talking about here today. The coconut crab again. Not True Crab Heck of a climber But these particular crafts. They never saw them climb anything they would they would come in under the doors and and they would sort of come in through cracks in the wall and then fall down onto the floor or and then keep crawling but they never tried to make it up the bed. What a shame these same huts? I should mention also some of them had lost some plastic nick screening up around the top permitted fruit bats to come in and fruit and poop onto under the floor of the hut. Though we didn't have to worry about that in our wow okay so back back to Burgas Lotto now. The last time we talked we talked primarily about the Christmas Island Red Crab which is mostly they just on Christmas Island and another small island group But the this this crab like animal deca pod Crustacean. We're talking about today. The King of crabs. CBS is not just confined Christmas Island though it is very numerous on Christmas Island. Yeah they've found throughout the tropical islands of the Pacific and Indian Ocean but but Christmas Island has the largest population and by far and as I mentioned they are. Excellent climbers mostly though to escape the any dangerous threats that they're not crazy about if they're nowhere near borough. Oh now here's a question. What is the danger or threat to the world's largest terrestrial arthropods? I'd reminder standing. Is that the the major threat of course as humans. HM which we'll get into in a bit though on the other side we have to say that the the Christmas Island population of coconut crabs robber crabs. It's also the best protected population poppulation of of robber crabs in the world. So it's Christmas Island has always. It's this it's this mix of humans really messed that one up and at the same time. There's some great examples of humans really trying to get it right. Yeah well we will talk in a little bit about using them for meat and for their oil uh-huh but yes so so. How did they survive on Christmas Island specifically well we mentioned in the last episode about the danger that The automobiles the bills pose as well as trains pose to The the smaller SA- Christmas Island Red Crab but according to the Australian Department of Environment and Energy between between two thousand ten and two thousand twelve. Some two thousand coconut crabs died on the roads of Christmas Island. They kept track of the fatalities and they actually. I posted fluorescent pink circles of by the roadside to remind motorists to drive carefully now. I think we've mentioned that. The coconut crabs are relatives lives of the hermit crabs. And if you see them they almost kind of looked like gigantic hermit crabs but what we know is that hermit crabs will claim shells that they find in their environment environment and and inhabit them as protection do Do we see anything like that in the In the robber crab or the coconut crab not in the adult so the adults don't don't use shells at all. They're beyond that instead. The abdomen is is tucked partially underneath the body and the series of hardened plates that provide covering along with bristle tufts of skin along the rest of the abdomen on my own. Shell yeah I mean what would they even climb inside football helmets but feet whispers to the warrior is needed. The warriors PERSPEC- I am the shell does that from No. It's some saying it's in like one of the mission impossible t shirts and stuff. I've missed that. It's one of those like no fear. T shirt slogans on t shirts. He say yeah. I don't know where it originally are. You saying it should be in our T. shirt shop accessible via stuff to blow your mind that can no. I don't think just throwing it out there okay. So even though the adults don't use the shells juvenile coconut crabs grabs do seem to employ the shell method of hermit crabs for protection but the juveniles are hard to observe because they are often burrowed knows a similar to what we saw with the red red crabs of Christmas Island like the the younger crabs the ones that have not reached adulthood yet. They're GONNA try to stay out of the thick of it until they're they're they've reached the appropriate size and the adults. Incidentally they moult underground and special borough. So they'll they'll they'll just dig down into this kind of Cyril Chamber. And that's where they'll do all their moulting and they'll come back up now I'm gonNA crabs or mostly sort of a deep blue in color and they tend to kind of you see footage of and they look kind of like Brown. Yeah Ashish but you'll see kind of bits of blue. Sometimes as a tinge of red in places becomes kind of like a weird off purple. Yeah and then. Of course they have clause they have a large left claw a smaller right claw and it's Kinda hard to pick up on the size differential when you're just looking at them unless you look closely I find But then they have two pairs of long walking legs in a smaller pair of appendages. That are used for mating and egg manipulation. Now these are land crabs. So do they have have anything to do with the water. Well we see some more situation as with the red crabs. We talked about in the last episode so they have only this digital gills in. They'll oh actually drown if left in water for more than an hour. The guilt issue is given over to highly vascular What I often I've seen Described as lung tissue tissue with lung in in quotation marks for for Land Lubber breathing. Yeah these are land crabs easily crabs of the forests all right. Let's take a quick break when we come back. We will discuss. Thus Charles Darwin's encounters with the coconut crabs. Did you know that you're supposed to brush your teeth for two minutes. Yeah two full minutes. It doesn't sound like that along. But most people rush they're rushing and they don't get through the whole time my gleam electric toothbrush notifies me every thirty seconds to switch quadrants so oh I get to every area of my mouth. Plus it automatically turns off after two minutes to make brushing easier the other thing. It's nothing like the other electric toothbrushes although bulky and awkward the Gleam is sleek minimalistic and beautiful and black or white check out the new battery operated gleam electric toothbrush and get free shipping on every order at gleam dot com slash stuff to blow your mind that's g. l. e. e. m. dot com slash stuff to blow your mind or available at Walmart. All right we're back so you know Charles. Darwin himself wrote about coconut crabs in eighteen. Thirty nine work. The voyage of the Beagle This was in his chapter on Keeling Island. What was known as Keeling Island then? I think it's also now known as the cocoas islands or territory which is another group of islands in in the Indian Ocean and so Darwin's observations were were interesting. He starts by writing quote. I have before alluded to a crab which lives on the cocoa cuts. It is very common. I love he hyphenate cocoa nuts. It is very common on all parts of the dry land and grows to monstrous size. It is closely allied or identical with the beer goes lotto so he basically he's already talking about the same animal. The front pair of legs terminate in very very strong and heavy pincers and the last pair are fitted with others weaker and much narrower. It would I be thought quite impossible for a crab to open strong. Cocoa nut covered with the Husk but Mr leask assures me that he is repeatedly seen this affected. The crab begins by tearing the husk Fiber Fiber by fiber and always from that end under which the three eyeholes are situated when this is completed. The crab commences hammering with his heavy claws. AUSE on one of the eyeholes till an opening is made then turning around its body by the aid of its posterior and narrow pair of pincers it extracts the white albumin substance. I think this is as curious case of instinct as I have ever heard of and likewise of adaptation in structure between between two objects apparently so remote from each other in the scheme of nature as a crab and a coco nut tree. Maybe I'm missing something but I honestly don't see what he thinks is so strange about that. The crab is a creature of the dark infernal depth and the coconut is Is the the the fruit of heaven. One is highly other low. No I mean because one of the things that when you look at a coconut crab I mean it. Kind of looks like a coconut. Yeah Yeah that is straight I I mean. I'm not saying like Darwin is dense here. Obviously you know he his insights about nature usually pretty interesting even when he's wrong. I'm not I'm not seeing what's so strange about that. That seems like a very natural kind of relationship. But I don't know maybe we're just used to thinking. Post are winning in thoughts about this kind of thing and I'll have a little more on coconut crabs eating coconuts. Oh cuts a little later on in the episode. Oh Yes yes So he points out a few other things. He says that the crab is active in the daytime but every night it goes to the sea to moist that skills and this seems contradicted by modern reports in which I've read that. The coconut crab is not exclusively nocturnal. But it likes nocturnal activity. Sort of prefers right. This is what I read to that. It it'll come out at night but it also it'll come out if it's a cloudy day this sort of thing and it. Also it's very. I think an environmentally informed. Yes so the coconut crab is living in an area where humans or say dogs. Or whatever we're going to mess with it that might impact how often it comes out but if they have free range Raines they're just GonNa do whatever so yeah. It sounds like his report could be wrong here. He says they live in burrows that they dig under the roots of trees and they make beds kids in their burrows out of the fibers of husks that they tear from coconuts and I have I have looked for modern evidence of that I have not found around the the anything about that. I didn't run across it either. I certainly ran across observations that you will find shredded. Bits of coconut husk in areas is where the crabs live. But I think that is probably due to what they do to coconuts and not any kind of Like nesting ritual interesting interesting If anybody out there knows of any evidence of that we would like to see it. Also Darwin on eating the largest real arthropods quote. These crabs are very good to eat moreover under the tail of the larger ones. There is a massive fat which when melted sometimes yields as much as a quart bottle full of Limpid Oil L. O.. Now he relies reports that the robber crabs climb trees to get coconuts but he doubts this is true. Other reports say that they live only on the nuts that have already fallen to the ground and And he also says quote to show the wonderful strength of the front pair of pincers. I may mention that Captain Morris. Boris be confined one in a strong tin box which had held biscuits the lead being secured with wire but the crab turned down the edges and escaped upped in turning down the edges. It actually punched many small holes quite through the Tin Oo So we must return to the subject of these ten piercing clause in bed now as a side note I so I was trying to find if there is any evidence of the coconut. Crabs making husk beds in their in their nests. And ahead I kept. I was googling things like do. Coconut crabs make Nests of coconut husks or something. But every time I typed do coconut cannot crabs make Google wanted to auto complete do coconut crabs. Make good pets what is wrong with this world. Why is that what it's telling me to look up? Yeah I didn't. I did not research anything about keeping them as pets but it seems like a good idea I mean for one thing. They're just a larger creature. Sure that seems like it needs to roam around and live fairly nomadic lifestyle on the other hand there. There are varieties of hermit crabs that it seemed to be more established as pets Not Not every species but a few particular species given the tin box stories. Seems like they might be a little bit hard to confine. Yeah and the and then the other thing too I when I first saw call them the footage I I saw them in that That documentary we talked about for nineteen eighty-eight. They they look like Brown fly covered Carrying gablers. So I'm not sure to what extent that you see that and you're like yes. I want one of those in my house. Yeah I mean they. Like many crabs they are opportunistic omnivore. More so even if they do in a way specializing coconuts they also they will eat carrion. I think we already mentioned that right. Yeah they they are in to meet when they can get it it even weird sources of me you might not expect. In fact they're they're viral videos of them. I don't know if this is common. Seems like this is probably not super common but there there there have been videos posted on the Internet of these crabs like attacking and killing live animals like live birds. Yeah I was looking at one of these as well the cut at least he said I saw I was unclear. Exactly how they came is true counter one another yes. That's a very good point. I it cuts in the middle of their encounter so it could be that the bird attacked act the crab or they just stumbled into each other by accident so I wouldn't want to imply that. The crabs are hunting the birds but clearly if they were given the chance they would they would kill Anita Bird. Yeah Yeah they're pretty fierce creatures in fact that they have no natural predators other than themselves and of course Charles Darwin these trying. I eat one but on Christmas Island. They reside almost an all corners of the environment. They'll certainly shelter under tree roots. As we mentioned they also use small cays crevices hollow logs and just earth boroughs especially for that multi practice talking about and like we said had they will generally stay outside during the day and head out to forage at night but also on overcast days and it does seem To also depend upon You know what's going on in the local environments winter humans about when our competitors about they seem pneumatic but may return to a specific borough and may need to return to the sea you to drink water in order to obtain automatic balanced from time to time. This is something that The Darwin actually touched on and on larger islands. They seem to remain in the same area for exterior extended periods of time. Not Sightseers Yeah. They're not really really sightseers now. What do they forage for? Well they love vegetable material the fruits of various trees in the pit of Fallen Ranga poems but they also Teheran just carry on as we've been discussing and they have a great sense of smell to aid aide in these hunts one diet I came across. Is that apparently. It is true that they've got a very crafty strategy for Not Wasting Energy. After they moult they eat their own discarded. EXO skeletons. Well that's just that's just commonsense right there right so I mean who out there picks their dead skin doesn't eat it off too much for you. Now our our yet shift and now you're like no why won't take it. Yeah all right so one thing. That's probably come to some of your minds out. There is okay. The the link between the coconut and a coconut crab is pretty obvious. But we've also also referred to them as robber crabs. Is that moniker comfort. I was wondering about that do they. Do they have like a little like a bandit mask kind of coloration or something No but what I read is that they will obsessively carry off any foreign object. They come across including pots and silverware from Camp Nice. And thus there known as Robert Crabs now these these these crabs will live for quite a while. Did they live up to fifty years. I've also seen between thirty and forty but longevity. They may exceed fifty years so I wanNA come back to Darwin question. Darwin reports him and his friends and captain. Moore's being all these people they think these things are pretty good to eat. They produce tasty oil all that kind of stuff is that I mean. Are there people who still eat these things. Well I was reading a bit about this in coconut. Crabs by Warwick Jay Fletcher. Any points out that they are quite edible. Despite their appearance says a large slightly grotesque fly covered scavenger and he wrote that the crabs in mini Indo Pacific cultures are Are Ceremonial importance for weddings and They're they're attributed with Aphrodisiac qualities and there are also also pretty easy to catch the other thing you know. The human wants to eat a coconut crab they can do it fast moving. Yeah and I don't know about you. But when I was looking around for footage of them I inevitably found some reality show about like a naked guy. In an island and it ends up did not find the healing and and Grilling and eating a coconut crab is that TV. Show about putting a naked guy in the woods. I believe it I mean I don't know how many shows with that description exist. You'd be shocked doc. At least one of them. No that was the permit it was like I think it was. It had the word naked and the title. I think it was discovery. Who did it too well? At any rate they're easy to catch if you're an established hunter you can do it. And if you're just some naked reality TV star you also have a pretty good shot at catching and eating it. But this is unfortunate in some areas because it has pushed them to the point of extinction in some parts of the world now an interesting theory that Fletcher points now is the you look. At their distribution on these various islands roughly matches the distribution of coconut palm leading some to theorize. Is that the coconut palm and may have been its means of migration Like how does that work out the way I imagine. He didn't really go into a lot of detail in this. Is I'm guessing they. They arrived on floating on bits of the tree or perhaps coconuts themselves. Wow this interesting. And I should point out their common only on island habitats where they typically don't have to compete with as many terrestrial organisms. I mean that's I think it's they don't do well where they're tigers or something. Yeah yeah well it's it it comes back to the you know the beauty of an isolated island environment right Ha The you can you can have certain organisms Really go wild in ways that they wouldn't be able to do Elsewhere in the world okay. I think we're gonNA take another break when we come back we'll ask. The burning question was Darwin Right. Can they actually actually open coconuts with their claws. We'll find out the future is closer than you think and it all starts in the palm of your hand you may have heard the news. Five G. is coming but what does that really mean. How will it impact me in this new iheart series this time tomorrow presented by t mobile for business snus join hosts Woloshin Keira price as they walk us through a mobile revolution? That will change the way we interact with the world around us from environmental science to law enforcement. Entertainment Healthcare and travel innovation is coming join them as they explore. How this revolution could impact your life and give you new ways to connect and engage this time? Tomorrow is now available on the iheartradio APP or wherever you listen to podcasts. The following is a message from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and everyone knows about the risks of driving drunk you could get arrested. Incur huge legal expenses. Lose your job hurt or even kill people. Let's take a moment to look at some surprising. Statistics statistics almost twenty nine people in the United States. Die Every day in alcohol impaired vehicle crashes. That's one person every fifty minutes. Even though drunk driving infidelities have fallen by a third in the last three decades drunk driving crashes still claim more than ten thousand lives each year. Many people are unaware that driving living while high can be just as dangerous in two thousand fifteen forty two percent of drivers killed in crashes tested positive for drugs so it is not necessarily so harmless and get this from two thousand seven to two thousand fifteen marijuana use among drivers killed in crashes doubled the truth is driving while high is deadly Hedley. So don't kid yourself if you are impaired from alcohol or drugs don't get behind the wheel if you feel different you drive different drive high and get a Dui drive sober or get pulled over all right. We're back all right Robert. I bet you have seen Videos of humans trying to open coconuts. It often seems to require something like a machete like no you very strong tool and some leverage to get a coconut open because these are these are hard nuts. Yeah I I didn't. Have you ever tried to open a coconut. No I haven't it's it can be a bit difficult. We purchased one. Ah I purchased one for the first time in the last year or two because my son really wanted to eat one and so I bring it home. And then I'm like buster on arrest evolvement. Tom And I have to ask like how do you eat one. I have to do a youtube search. I'll do I open a coconut. How do I prepare? And in their several steps involved left so yeah these are these are robust nuts. They're they are difficult to crack. This is something that if it falls from a tree and hit you on the head it can kill kill you. Yeah so the the the relationship between the coconut crab and the coconut. This is apparently an area of some controversy Because does despite the fact that this is where they get their name in the fact that we have all these stories about them opening coconuts. We we have a lot less in the way of definitive proof. So Fletcher that Warwick Jay Fletcher. I mentioned earlier. He points out some of the more believable of the ideas regarding coconut. Crabs opening coconuts. Okay the first of the crab. I D- husks the coconut. And it's all the stringy fibers pulls off the stringy fibers and then climbs up the tree with it and then drops it to bust it open. This does not seem to be a a popular theory like. This doesn't seem to be one that a lot of people are really putting a lot of stock in because it it sounds crazy right. The idea that the crab would take the coconut and despite being no one's doubting outing the coconut crab is is not a great climber but the idea that it would get the coconut climb a tree and drop. It seems crazy. I think the other likely idea is that in my -cribe -cribe climbed the tree of course and and dislodge the coconut. Somehow which is is more likely given its ability to climb but then other versions turns are that it It simply Diaz Coke in bashes the nut open with its claw or that it pokes a claw through one of the is is like the lower part of one of the is and snips the coconut open. Well that would be very powerful snip. Fortunately these are very powerful claws. This last method at the snipping method actually was observed by Fletcher in the lab. But he points out that it took several days for the crap to do it but then again like this crab is on. Its own schedule to impose your human schedule on this mighty Deca pot equipped her and me were on crab time. We mentioned already. husks and broken coconuts are often seen in the domain of the coconut crab. However contrary to the opinions in the past it is not a pest for coconut nut growers nothing on the level of say the rat which is a true past coconut growers? Now the the crab doesn't depend on the coconut is a primary food source. I again it's happy with all these other things that comes across to eat it's a it's an omnivore. I it is not exclusive to the coconut but it does seem to eat them. And in order to eat them and has to tear into the coconut with those claws the claws of the coconut crab have the strongest pinching force of any Crustacean Asian and according to this according to a study published November twenty third. Two Thousand Sixteen in the open access journal Peel one by a Japanese team of researchers led by Shinichi Grow Okra. And that's that's saying something right. I mean this is the strongest pinching force of any Crustacean Shen because Decca pods exert the greatest pinching force relative to their mass in general and in this is the greatest picture of them all they write quote based based on the crabs maximum known weight the maximum pinching force of their claws was projected to be three thousand three hundred Newton's this exceeds leads both the pinching force of other crustaceans and the bite force of all terrestrial animals except alligators. Now I was looking around and I could be missing something but I found that to be slightly contradicted by other figures that were saying like you know what would be the bite force of Tiger or lion and I saw that estimated needed somewhere around four thousand Newton. I mean even being in the same ball is the bite force of a tiger. Sounds pretty good. Well Yeah because I I don't know about you but when I think of being pinched by a crab yeah I tend to think of it more as an annoyance another crushing Kinda right. Like if I'm playing around on the Beach Shen my son and I see a crab and I'm like Oh should I touch it on its head in my son's like Oh don't do A. You'll get pinched. I'm not thinking about losing a finger right but these these these seconds are also strong. I've read that. They can lift up to twenty eight kilograms or sixty one pounds. Wow and certainly if you look back to kingdom of the crabs that that documentary special special narrated by David attenborough you see like three or four of them tearing across tearing apart a bird carcass. Yeah so they're they're powerful and should maybe be worshiped has got some just well. I mean there's a reason when crab start doing their dominance displays. What do they do? They hold their claws up in the air. They're like look at the the power. Look at the glory you see it. Yeah and that that again brings me back to what Douglas J.. Inland pointed out in his book. Animal weapons these are high energy adaptations. Not only for just growing these powerful muscular pinchers but also the ability to wave them around like that the ability to put on that show. Yeah and that's I mean we think about it. There are very different kinds of powerful muscles that nature can invest in. You know you've got the muscles of H. Ito which no one would say. You're not very powerful. Ride been there. You know powerful Like the leg and the body muscles allow it to move very fast. And then you've got these other. I'm sure there's a biological or bio mechanics term for this. I'm not aware of at the moment. That sort of like the single use muscle that's there for exerting a really really powerful single force all at once not made for speed. It's not made for me necessarily repeated use or anything but it's like the jaw muscles of of the crocodile in the Crocodilians. have one of the most powerful bites or I think the most powerful bite of any animal that comes onto land right. Yes I believe leave so there. This reminds me we should. We should come back and do a bite based episode because some some listeners finding a bit dry but but I'm always fascinated by the ranking of the different five and also when you get into the the study of What the the the estimated bite power would have been for something say like a Sabertooth cat? Yeah of extinct animals remember. We were in our episode about the wolf of Whale Street. We were comparing the estimated by forces. This is a of the the Megara Don the ancient gigantic shark and the Leviathan the ancient predatory wail. Yes and I recall they were they. They were somewhere around each other. I think they were comparable Robert. Have you heard this bizarre theory that Amelia earhart was eaten by coconut crabs. And I hi. It's not an actual theory. Well I mean I don't. It's not one of those that has good direct evidence for it. It's one of those that I it seems like every few years years this shows up again in a new round of articles on the Internet Because I probably just because it's a captivating image but I think the idea so in one thousand nine thirty seven Amelia earhart. You know she vanished while flying over the Pacific with Fred noon and her navigator and nobody knows what happened to them. It's often been presumed that there might have been bad weather. And they crashed into the water and they sank into the ocean and died. died in the crash or drowned The everybody's always got these. These hypothetical what if she actually landed on this island in something happened to the plane and you know and that's why we don't you know whatever but there's apparently some theory that She she crash landed on an island called Neekam Moreau and that her remains were not found there in full because they were consumed roomed dragged into the dens of land crabs of of how can crabs. I do as I said there does not appear to be good direct evidence for this. It's just more kind of like Equa. What if this happened? Well I mean it assuming that she she did crash on an island like that and either survived or didn't She stayed there and then she died there. It seems highly likely that land crabs would eat crabs are will scavenge and they will consume human flesh. Flash that's why you have that old bit folk wisdom to never eat crabs after hurricane oud because because I guess you don't WanNa eat crabs that have been eating human flesh. I have not heard that. Yeah well however if you kind of secretly want to eat human flesh probably never a better time I. It's a weird area to get into to jokes about hurricane related death breath but Here we are. I didn't mean to be insensitive about hurricane related death but yeah I do not believe that there is any good reason to think that is what happened to Amelia earhart. I think most of the historians of her biographers and historians think that they probably sank into the ocean but anyway for some reason people want to keep coming back to this when they just like the idea of crabs eating people. I'd say crabs are GONNA eat people. Hey crabs have probably eaten quite a few people Over over the course of human history especially in in areas close to the sea and ultimately would would sky burial by land crab. Be that bad of a thing you know. I'm not sure it would. Yeah you could become part of. Somebody's limpid oil. Yeah this could be one of the big trends in the future you know as we're beginning to is removing even further away from from From from burial of the dead we've done whole episodes out Some of the newer methods of burial that have become increasingly popular. The idea of green burials brass we will come back to something. More like the Tibetan sky burial where a body is his ritually taken apart and then fed to scavenging animals in the Tibetan case it has vultures but why not land craps wine the coconut crab. I think it's a good idea to give the invertebrates a taste for us now. Speaking of giant crabs that may consume human flesh giant crabs are of course pretty popular in Motion Ocean pictures and I know the steelers. You might think yes. I think that there should be way more giant crab movies well. What are some of the notable examples? I I mean the main ones that comes to my mind is mysterious island from fifty one. Because you had those Ray Harry House effects of that giant crab. Oh the those are great. I love attack of the crab. Monsters ancestors the nineteen fifty seven Roger Cormon special. It's you know I you know. I'm a sucker for the atomic age monster movies where there was a Tomic radiation and it. It made a bigger version of some normal animal. Except it's not just a bigger version of crabs in this movie. It's great because their telepathic sort of immaterial. Magnetic magnetic electric radioactive absorb the consciousness of everyone they eat and they've got plans for world domination and then they slowly or consuming the island that they live on it. It's it's just one of the best stupid movies ever made because it is made with such Asia Energy and enthusiasm. I think a lot of that goes to the script by Charles Griffith who is one of my favorite B movie writers The there's a gleeful embrace race of the absurdity. Supposedly Roger Corman told Griffith when he was writing the script that he's like. I don't want any boring scenes people just talking. There's got to be the action or suspense in every and then the story goes that Griffith asked him okay. Does it have to be about atomic radiation and Korman said yes so this is the film where the crabs have kind of human looking faces. Yeah they've got googly eyes and is this the one that you were telling you about where it's possible awesome Jack. Nicholson played the crab. He I think people have denied it but other people have claimed that so Jack Nicholson was part of the Cormon. Seen I think he was is helping out on set with Corman movies in the fifties and Yeah some people have claimed that underneath the giant crab puppet in attack of the crab monsters in some shots. It's Nicholson under there. But other people have said it's not him so yeah there's a question mark. I hope we get to get to find. Yeah maybe that'd be like a deathbed confession from Jack. Nicholson the world that he was the crab. Those are my ankles under that grab. I was that Crab Bob. How man can't you imagine they'll get fit that footage into the dedication at the Academy Awards And they're they're hilarious stories about the behind behind the scenes. Puppet work where they were trying to get the crab puppet to do what they wanted because there was like an underwater scene where they were trying to feature. But I think it was made of fiberglass and stuff and it wouldn't sink it was like to buoyant and they were weighing down with stuff to try to make it sink in but it ended up exploding somehow alliances. So they're filming this and the actual surf right might be. I think it was in like an aquarium somewhere. A six hundred say they're trying to fill in the surf. I can only imagine how awful that would would've been trying to do anything if in the surf other than just sort of retain your footing is Is is quite a challenge enough. There are at least a few scenes that are actually shot in the surf. There's one great one where there are a few guys in there like these Navy sailors in a rowboat and they're just off the coast and one guy falls in the water and they pull him back out and he doesn't never ahead then. One of the scientists is like. I hope that men's death is not an omen of things to come. Well a crab that would that big would have had considerable federal pinching power. Sure will they do specify an attack of the crab monsters that the crabs are supposed to be land crabs. I also maybe I mean they look Komo just like blue crabs or something that normal kind of see cra- or I don't know about blue crabs. They look like they're kind of like the read. The Christmas Island red crab kind of crabs. You would eat no not so much like those. They look like the crabs that you would buy at the grocery store and they're called and maybe their land but anyway I I suppose it could be partially officially inspired by the kind of Decca pod crustacean. We've been discussing today. Maybe in yet you. I don't think in any of these giant crab movies. You see giant land crab Bob that looks like a giant hermit crab it looks like the coconut crab which is our best example of giant deca pot. No I don't think so there's also there's a movie called island clause. That is pretty good if you get a chance. It's also a terrible giant crab B. movie but I also think in that when it's just it looks more like a dinner grabs were created by some scientific experiments performed by Jerry Nelson. All right then either. This makes me think though the maybe what we need is more giant crap films in terms of just like huge hulking truck sized crafts but just like dog sized crab this scale up belittle bit from the coconut crab and then give it give it enhanced speed. I think I feel like that's the kind of movie audiences would really get behind. Yeah I agree. More giant crab movies please or go back to the Christmas Island. CRAPS in streaming hordes of tiny crabs awesome essentially make the squirm movie of of Crab Films. That's sort of what island clauses before there's a giant crab at the end. There's one part where guys like living in a bus. And he's just living in a bus and he gets suddenly crabs everywhere and he goes. Oh and then the crabs turn his boss over how do this. This is kind of the sacrificial Hobo character that shows that guy. Yeah my favorite for example of course being the original from or maybe not the original but I feel like the a prime example of the archetype the old man who pokes the meteorite in the BLOB. Yeah the Old Jordi viral mistake. All right well there you have it. We we got a little off topic there at the end just talking about Giant crabs cinema. But this was a fun episode the coconut crab I originally thought. We'd just be part of our Chris of a single Christmas Island episode but it turned out they were just far are more interesting there was too much limpid oil in there just too much limpid oil. We just had to suck it all up so we hope you enjoyed the episode again. If you've ever been to Christmas Island or any or if any island that has in this case that has coconut crabs or robber. Crabs if you'd rather a please tell us about your your sightings ratings of these creatures or your experiences with these creatures we would love to hear from you in the meantime check out all the episodes of this show at stuff to blow your mind dot com. That is where you'll find find all the episodes you'll find links to our social media accounts just a quick reminder to check out our new show invention you'll find that at invention pod dot com. That comes out every Monday. Each episode is a new invention a new page from human techno history. And you dig this show. We think you're going to dig invention as well absolutely absolutely so. Check it out a big. Thanks to our awesome audio producers Alex Williams and Tari Harrison. If you would like to get in touch with US directly gladys new feedback on this episode or any other to suggest a topic for the future just to say hi. You can email us at blow. The mind did how stuff works. 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