Wildlife biologist Forrest Galante rejoins us to discuss rediscovering “lost” species and why we should resurrect the dodo, thylacine, and woolly mammoth.
What We Discuss with Forrest Galante:
- What’s Forrest been up to since his last visit to this show? Just milking venomous sea snakes and trying to find out why orcas are slaughtering great white sharks en masse.
- Where are the world’s biggest snakes found, and do they ever eat people?
- What did Forrest find inside the world’s largest cave — besides a variety of isolated ecosystems with their own weather systems?
- Why following leads for unknown or thought-to-be-extinct species isn’t tinfoil hat territory — and the clever ways Forrest and his team track them.
- How likely is it that science will be used to resurrect extinct species like the woolly mammoth, dodo bird, and thylacine in the near future — and how does this ambitious goal fit into the conservation of existing ecosystems?
- And much more…
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Since his last visit to the show, Forrest Galante — wildlife biologist, conservationist, co-host of The Wild Times Podcast, TV presenter for Extinct or Alive and Mysterious Creatures, and author of Still Alive: A Wild Life of Rediscovery — has been doing his best to stay alive while milking venomous sea snakes and studying shark-murdering orcas. As one does.
On this episode, Forrest rejoins us to discuss 50-foot jungle snakes; pygmy-poaching pythons; looking for unicorns in the world’s largest cave system; the long-odds rediscovery of multiple species once thought lost to the ages; and the conservationist argument for de-extincting and reintroducing woolly mammoths, thylacines, and dodo birds (for a start) into a world they’ve long since left behind. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
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Miss our two-part conversation with ex-Al-Qaeda spy Aimen Dean? Catch up by starting with episode 383: Aimen Dean | Nine Lives of a Spy Inside Al-Qaeda Part One here!
Thanks, Forrest Galante!
If you enjoyed this session with Forrest Galante, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- Still Alive: A Wild Life of Rediscovery by Forrest Galante | Amazon
- Mysterious Creatures | Prime Video
- The Wild Times Podcast
- Forrest Galante | A Wild Life of Rediscovery | Jordan Harbinger
- Forrest Galante | Website
- Forrest Galante | YouTube
- Forrest Galante | Twitter
- Forrest Galante | Instagram
- Forrest Galante | Facebook
- Extinct or Alive | Prime Video
- Bitten by a Deadly Sea Snake! | Forest Galante
- Two Orcas Slaughter 19 Sharks in a Single Day in South Africa, Eating Their Livers and Leaving Them to Rot | Live Science
- The Orca Uprising: Whales Are Ramming Boats — But Are They Inspired by Revenge, Grief or Memory? | The Guardian
- Bite or Be Bitten: What Is the Difference between Poison and Venom? | Natural History Museum
- Milking Cats | Meet the Parents
- What You Need to Know About Ricin Poisoning | Healthline
- How Murphy’s Law Works | HowStuffWorks
- Ultimate Guide to Forced Perspective Photography | Shotkit
- Top 10: Biggest Snakes in the World | BBC Science Focus Magazine
- The Enigma of the Giant Congo Snake | Verdade UFO
- The Aeta People: Indigenous Tribe of the Philippines | CulturePop
- Meet the Agta, a Tribe Where a Quarter of Men Have Been Attacked by Giant Snakes | National Geographic
- Anaconda | Prime Video
- The World’s Largest Cave | Sơn Đoòng Cave
- Will Forrest Find An Asian Unicorn in the World’s Largest Cave? | Extinct Or Alive?
- Saola: The Asian Unicorn | WWF
- Why I Didn’t Party in Vang Vieng | Claire’s Footsteps
- The Beach | Prime Video
- Meet the Lazarus Creatures — Six Species We Thought Were Extinct, but Aren’t | The Conversation
- Why Thousands of New Animal Species Are Still Discovered Each Year | Atlas Obscura
- Believed-Extinct Rio Apaporis Caiman Rediscovered | Discovery
- Turtle Conservancy Conservation Center
- Meet Fernanda, the Galápagos Tortoise Lost for Over a Century | Smithsonian Magazine
- New Support for Some Extinct Tasmanian Tiger Sightings | The New York Times
- An Elusive Shark Lost for 40 Years Was Just Rediscovered by Extinct or Alive’s Adventurer Forrest Galante | Newsweek
- Solving the Colossal Problem of Extinction | Colossal
- Could De-Extinction of Dodo, Woolly Mammoth Aid Conservation? | Short Wave
- De-Extinction Debate: Should We Bring Back the Woolly Mammoth? | Yale E360
- Hasbro Jenga | Amazon
898: Forrest Galante | Seeking Unicorns and Resurrecting the Dodo
This transcript is yet untouched by human hands. Please proceed with caution as we sort through what the robots have given us. We appreciate your patience!
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: This episode of the Jordan Harbinger show is brought to you by Nissan. Whether you want more adventure, more electric, more action, more guts, or more turbocharged excitement, Nissan is here to make sure you get it. Learn more at NissanUSA. com. Coming up next on the Jordan Harbinger show.
[00:00:14] Forrest Galante: What I can say is without a doubt, Thylacine, the animal I mentioned, dodo birds.
[00:00:19] And, uh, Wooly Mammoth, uh, they're all gonna be walking the planet thanks to Colossal in our lifetime. And this is a big deal. This isn't, Oh, I'm just this crazy, eccentric, Jurassic Park y billionaire. This has phenomenal, grandiose conservation applications.
[00:00:38] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger on the Jordan Harbinger show. We decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. Our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker.
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[00:01:30] Today, back on the show, my friend Forrest Galante, he's a wildlife explorer for lack of a better term. He travels to some of the most dangerous places in the world. He looks for extinct animals or, well, animals thought to be extinct. And he grew up in Zimbabwe on a farm, came to the U. S. as a refugee. If you haven't heard the first episode with him came out in like February definitely go back and check it out We are doing kind of a part two he's is just up to all kinds of shenanigans with snakes and milk and snake venom and Looking for more extinct species and all kinds of giant snakes and just insane caving The dude is, I could never do any of this.
[00:02:10] I would never want to even watch him do this in real life anywhere other than television. That's it. That's absolutely as close as I get to this. These conversations are as close as I get to the level of nature. that Forrest gets into. And if you like the wildlife stuff, you're gonna love this episode. So here we go with Forrest Galante.
[00:02:28] You last came on, I want to say late 2022, early 2023. Where have you been since then? I know you're never home, but you also probably weren't, you know, in The coast of spain
[00:02:40] Forrest Galante: on a beach. Oh god, I talk about your brain fog Um, where have I been since we last spoke? You might have to look at your calendar to answer this question if I work backwards I just got back from Baja, Mexico about four days ago We spent two weeks down there before that.
[00:02:55] I had two really exciting trips One was on the the west coast of australia really remote area looking at the effects of sea snake venom On shark tissue. Whoa that came with its whole own list of difficulties, which included catching sea snakes taking venom Finding big sharks taking tissue from them, you know all the typical wednesday job stuff and then Before that we were in south africa looking at endemic species of sharks and what's going on with the orca situation.
[00:03:26] I don't know if you're aware of this, but there are two infamous orcas there that are just annihilating the great white shark and seven gill shark populations. And so, yeah, we went and studied that for about a month. So yeah, it's been a good year so far. What I
[00:03:39] Jordan Harbinger: thought you were going to mention is you've probably seen this, I'm sure there's orcas that figured out how to sink boats.
[00:03:45] Forrest Galante: Yeah. Have you heard about this? Yeah, I just read about this the other day. It's incredible.
[00:03:49] Jordan Harbinger: So that's terrifying because I'm already like, don't go in the water, for no reason. Like, I realize I'm probably mostly safe in the ocean unless I'm with you, in which case I'm chasing the most venomous snakes on the planet.
[00:04:01] But most of the time you're safe in the water and everyone's like, it's fine. And like killer whale, oh, they're just called that because they kill sharks and look like dot, dot, dot Shamu. And meanwhile, they're like sinking yachts that are just minding their own business. And they're like, no, we've had enough of your shit, humanity.
[00:04:17] Forrest Galante: We do know it's a learned behavior, but we don't know whether it's a learned behavior of aggression, because one orca had a bad instant experience with a boat and now is taking it out on boats, or if it's a learned behavior of play because they find it fun. It's like an activity for them to go and harass these boats, and we don't know.
[00:04:35] And I mean, like, how much of If that was a human being, you would say that this is a psychopath, right? Like, oh, are they enjoying it? Are they doing it out of aggression? We don't know the answer, but because we don't fluently speak Orca, and we do actually speak Orca a little bit, but because we as humans don't fluently speak Orca, we don't know the answer, which is pretty crazy.
[00:04:53] It is crazy.
[00:04:54] Jordan Harbinger: I, I understand how terrifying that would be, and I'm not saying like, good, those, those boaters that were just enjoying a relaxing weekend deserved it, but I totally get the perspective of the Orca being like, huh. Most of the time when these come through, they throw garbage off, we choke on it, we die from this, we get hit by their propellers, they make a ton of noise, uh, they leak poisonous substances, maybe we should keep these things away from our kids, and they're like, I know how to do that, bash into it as hard as you can, and eventually there'll be a hole in it, and
[00:05:24] Forrest Galante: it'll tip over, and they'll never come back.
[00:05:26] Exactly, exactly. Yeah, it's pretty wild. I mean, it's, wouldn't it be crazy if we looked back, you know, in 15 years and we're like, Hey, remember when we used to be able to go on the ocean? Those were good days. Yeah,
[00:05:39] Jordan Harbinger: well, you'll still be able to go. You just need like a metal hull that is orca proof. It'll be like, totally.
[00:05:44] If you want orca proofed yachts, you need to add 25, 000 per square foot for the protective coating that makes it so that it can't destroy your boat. They'll have to retrofit. All these rich people will be crying because they have to retrofit their catamaran.
[00:05:58] Forrest Galante: As if the world isn't crazy enough. Now we have orcas attacking boats and we've got to retrofit our boats to go out in the sea.
[00:06:03] I mean, that's not really the case, but how funny would that be? You know,
[00:06:07] Jordan Harbinger: they call us killer whales. Let's show them what we're made of here. Let's earn this reputation, this moniker. The sea snake thing sounds, sounds scary. Sea snakes are poisonous if memory serves, right? I've watched a couple Nat Geos.
[00:06:19] They look really scary. And if they bite sharks. I assume they're smaller than sharks and they kill them with the poison, which means the poison's got to be pretty potent
[00:06:27] Forrest Galante: stuff. Yeah, so first of all, I'm going to be that annoying kid from school that corrects you because snakes aren't poisonous, they're venomous.
[00:06:34] Jordan Harbinger: venomous. Yes, I knew that. I knew that from last time because I think we had this exact exchange
[00:06:40] Forrest Galante: last time. I'm never going to get that right, by
[00:06:41] Jordan Harbinger: the way. I'm never going to get it
[00:06:42] Forrest Galante: right. Just accept that. That's okay. But, um, yeah, the difference being, so venom, an envenomation occurs when, uh, toxic substance is injected into you versus when you consume it.
[00:06:52] That's a poison, right? Ah, okay. Interesting. So the question, and we, maybe we even talked about this, I might have been getting ready to go for this one, I don't even remember, but, um, Sea snakes are lethally venomous, you know, to the point, and it's interesting because they're totally silent killers. What their venom does is it's paralytic.
[00:07:07] It paralyzes their prey, which is fish, and it does that by stopping their heart and stopping their lungs, and it's pretty much untraceable. So it's a very, very scary toxin, and I had a pretty ridiculous mistake run in, probably one of the closest run ins I've ever had, actually. So we're out in Western Australia.
[00:07:26] We're looking for these sea snakes to test the toxicity of their venom, right, and milking them and so on. Wait, wait.
[00:07:33] Jordan Harbinger: Hold on. Pause. How do you milk a sea snake? Is that literal or are you, like, juicing its head somehow?
[00:07:39] Forrest Galante: No, no. You can milk anything with nipples, Greg. Um, no. I have nipples. I have nipples for us.
[00:07:45] Can you milk me? There we go. No, yeah. So milking it is a process done where you take the snakes, And you know, with traditional snakes, you have like a jar with a clear film over it and the snake bites on and the venom drips out of the fangs from the venom glands. Sea snakes, however, have tiny little venoms, so you have to catch them, hold their mouths open, and then take a pipette and run that pipette up the tooth, up the fang, and then pipette out the venom from the venom glands.
[00:08:12] So it's a very... Very delicate process. And what's crazy is, you know, you can't do this with big bulky gloves on because you don't have the dexterity. I was going to
[00:08:21] Jordan Harbinger: ask if you have snake venom gloves or if you're just winging it,
[00:08:23] Forrest Galante: man. I mean, we have gloves that we use for some of the handling, but you can't do the venom extraction using the gloves because you need the dexterity of your fingers and you need to be able to operate these micro pipettes and things like that.
[00:08:35] And so you're there holding literally the most lethal biotoxin in the world where one microgram, one drop, one flick. Getting in your, in a crack in your skin, in a cut in your eyes or ears or mouth or nose will ultimately just kill you in a matter of six hours without any real side effects other than feeling a bit lethargic.
[00:08:56] Oh no. And so if you want to hear about what I did, which was dumber than dirt. I do, but I want to, I
[00:09:01] Jordan Harbinger: want to highlight that for a second because that's, That amount of poison, that's like ricin or something, and I only know that from Breaking Bad, right, but this tiny little piece of, of this, or it's like, how they say, like, enough fentanyl to cover the head of a pin can make you have an overdose, that's like, that level of toxicity.
[00:09:19] And you say no side effects, meaning you don't know if you've ingested it where you're like, Oh God, my lips are numb. I better run to the nearest hospital and get them ready to have me on life support. You're just like, I'm fine. And you go eat lunch and then you keel over and guess I wasn't fine. And you're dead.
[00:09:33] Forrest Galante: not only that, but the life support that they can offer is pretty minimal. You know, the anti venom for sea snakes. It does exist, but in very low frequencies and low, low, it's just like, it's just, it's a no win scenario. You're not getting out of there alive.
[00:09:48] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, so how did you almost succumb to this particular
[00:09:51] Forrest Galante: toxin?
[00:09:52] So dumb, Jordan. I'm sitting there milking the snake. I've got adrenaline coursing through my veins, because I've got this lethally deadly snake in my hands. I'm holding its mouth open. We're pipetting, you know, we're pipetting up vertically. So if you imagine the snake's mouth is open, and I've got the pipette up like this, and I'm taking the venom.
[00:10:11] And I'm putting it into the into the vials and some of the venom and other liquids are running down because you're you're dealing with a sea snake. It's just come out of the ocean. Everything's wet. Your hands are wet. I just caught it in the ocean. There's liquid around right when I'm doing something that borders on.
[00:10:27] You know, just life threatening like this. I'm usually laser focused and this case was no difference. There was no exception. I'm laser focused. I'm focused on the snake. I'm focused on the job that I'm doing and I'm pipetting this, uh, this venom and I'm putting it in the vial and I get all done. And the snake goes back in the cooling bucket so that the snake doesn't overheat and the venom goes into the cooler.
[00:10:48] And then my cameraman who I will name here so that he gets in trouble because he's one of my best friends, Mitchell, who's always arguing with me. We're always arguing. We're like, we're like a married couple in that regard. He starts arguing with me about a shot or a drone shot or something. And I'm one of those people that when they're frustrated, they put their fingers in their eyes.
[00:11:05] So he starts arguing with me. As soon as I'm done, I go like this and I rub my eyes. like this with my fingers and I'm like, God damn it, Mitch, I don't care about your drone shot or whatever it is. And as I'm doing this, as I'm rubbing my fingers in my eyes, I'm frustration. I just like have this moment of, Oh fuck.
[00:11:22] Yeah. Clarity. I haven't washed my hands. I haven't done anything. I've literally just put the snake away seconds ago. With all of this fluid around, like I said, not knowing if some of the venom had leaked down the pipette and into my fingers, the same exact fingers I've just stuck in my eyeballs. And it can
[00:11:38] Jordan Harbinger: absorb through your eyeballs?
[00:11:39] Oh yeah. It can just go through your Yeah,
[00:11:43] Forrest Galante: and it enters into your bloodstream. It's just the same as being bitten. And so I did this and all of a sudden I just went silent and Mitch was like, wait, what's wrong? Because he's used to me arguing with him. And I'm like, I think I just killed myself. And he's like, what?
[00:11:56] And I was like, nothing. And so I just said nothing. Cause I didn't want to like freak the whole team out. Cause there's a, there's a crew of us out there, right? There's 12 of us. We're our, we're like 10 hours from civilization. Like we're not, we're not, there's no help coming. And so I know what I've done.
[00:12:12] He like brushes it off and I just get kind of quiet and I'm on the boat. And this was at the very end of the day. So I'm like, okay, we're done for the day. You know, we finish up shooting and finish up getting our samples. And we're in the boat back to the place that we're staying and we're boating back and whether you've been injected by sea snake venom or whether you've just had a really long day of diving and catching snakes.
[00:12:35] Start to feel fatigued because you're exhausted, right? I've been in the water for 10 hours and i'm like fuck is this it like the fatigue is really kicking in i'm exhausted Yeah, and so we go back to the house Everybody cracks a beer like i'm having a beer. It's i'm not saying anything. I'm a little bit quiet as well Yeah, I might as well everybody beers while you're at it.
[00:12:53] Everybody keeps asking what's wrong. Are you okay? I'm like, yeah, i'm fine. I'm fine. I'm good. Sorry. I'm just tired And so then I literally, they're like, all right, we're going to go out and get some dinner. Cause there was a little like restaurant near the house we were staying in. And, uh, I was like, you know what?
[00:13:06] I'm going to skip dinner. You guys have a good night. I'm tired. I go to my room. I write a note to my wife and son saying like, I love you guys. You know, if anything happens, blah, blah. I put it on the nightstand next to the bed. I get into bed and I go to sleep and I don't even think about it. Wake up in the morning feeling totally fine.
[00:13:23] Crumple up that letter, throw it in the trash. I'm like, I'm good to go. Nothing happened. . Yeah, you could still
[00:13:30] Jordan Harbinger: call the wife and kids and tell 'em you love him, but I bet it was a pretty nice morning. Like best morning you've ever had. Hangover. No hangover. Three, four hours of sleep. No problem. Best, good, best freshest morning totally in
[00:13:41] Forrest Galante: your life.
[00:13:42] I tell this story to my buddy Patrick, and he goes, well, why didn't you just call Jess your wife and like say something. If I had randomly called her out of the blue to start professing my love to her and my son, she would have known something was up. And then I would have had to tell her what had happened.
[00:13:56] And then she would have been freaking out all night. You know, like it just would have, it just would have snowballed the whole thing. And so I just said nothing. I wrote a little note. I apologized to the crew in the note about having to deal with me in that situation. And, uh, and yeah, I woke up and everything was fine.
[00:14:11] Crumpled up the letter, went out, had a cup of coffee. Didn't say anything. Was like, I'm good, baby. I'm back. Oh
[00:14:17] Jordan Harbinger: my god, like, apologies in advance to, uh, what was his name, Mitch, for having, thinking that he killed me. Yeah. By arguing about a drone shot. Not your fault. Nope. Love you bro. Maybe. Like, all these little loose ends, like, what else?
[00:14:29] Here's my bitcoin wallet password. Yep. Yeah, that's, that's, that is so ridiculous, I mean it, oh, cause there's not, nothing you can do, right? Nothing. Did you try to wash your eyes out or anything? Is it, there's no point.
[00:14:43] Forrest Galante: There's no. I, It's too late. It makes no difference. I mean, I sort of did, you know what I mean?
[00:14:47] In the sense of like, I, I like poured some water over my head, but it was just like, it's done at that point. If the venom was on my fingers and in my tear ducts, that's that there was nothing more that could be done. So if
[00:14:58] Jordan Harbinger: the sea snake bites a shark, are we talking about a big shark because it kills this big thing?
[00:15:03] How does it eat that thing? It can only have a few bites for its full and then what the rest just
[00:15:07] Forrest Galante: rots. That's a good question. So. A sea snake would never eat a shark, typically, right? Instead, what happens is you have tiger sharks, which are known as the dumpsters of the sea, that'll come along and eat pretty much anything they can fit in their mouths.
[00:15:21] Now, this is where the mystery sort of gets really interesting. When a tiger shark would come up and eat a sea snake that was lounging on the surface, sunning itself, whatever, odds are it would kill it. But as many people know, sometimes when you decapitate a snake, It stays alive, right? Like the head keeps fighting.
[00:15:38] It's like you see those videos on youtube or whatever. Now a sea snake would never have the ability to envenomate a shark through its skin because sharks have big tough rough Sandpapery skin. Gotcha, but and this is where it becomes so fascinating if a tiger shark Where to come to the surface, chow down on a sea snake, bite it in half, let's say, and put the, uh, the bitey end in its mouth.
[00:16:00] That sea snake would then have access, while still alive but dying, to the soft tissue, esophagus, throat, stomach, etc., of the tiger shark. And all it needs in a defensive strike is to bite once and inject that venom into the mouth or stomach of the tiger shark. the lining and then the venoms in the bloodstream.
[00:16:21] So, you know, we had to go through a pretty rigorous test to see would tiger sharks eat a sea snake? How would they do it? Would they be able to bite it in half? And we do all this for shark week, by the way. It's all coming out in discovery later this year on in July. But, um, it's pretty cool. It was a pretty wild adventure.
[00:16:38] This is probably a dumb
[00:16:38] Jordan Harbinger: question. Is this knowledge just for the sake of, Hey, we want to know this random, these kinds of random things, and we're also finding out the toxicity of the venom. Or is it just like you're looking for something else and you find out these kind of random factoids? Because it seems a little weird to be like, hey, you know what?
[00:16:54] I really want to know if a tiger shark would bite a sea snake and if the sea snake would then bite the tiger shark's, uh, inner mouth lining. Let's spend tens, hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the answer to that question
[00:17:05] Forrest Galante: while filming it. So it's actually motivated by the fact that tiger sharks.
[00:17:10] Uh, have mysteriously been washing up dead on beaches of Western Australia. Interesting. With absolutely no known issues. Like you look at them and the autopsy goes, they're perfect. There's no microplastics in the gut. There's no lacerations. There's no injuries. There's no bruising. There's no hemorrhaging.
[00:17:26] Nothing. These animals are perfect. Why is a 16 foot immaculate, healthy looking tiger shark Washed up dead on a beach, flawless. And so my theory, my hypothesis was this was the reason, the sea snakes. And so we went to study this to try and answer whether or not that was those, they were the culprits.
[00:17:44] Jordan Harbinger: God, it just seems like such a random confluence of events that a tiger shark would be like, let me eat this up.
[00:17:49] There was a sea snake in there. I bit it in half and that half is in my mouth and it bit me. Yep. It just seems like that's like winning the lottery or, or getting hit by, that's the shark equivalent of getting hit by
[00:17:59] Forrest Galante: lightning. Yep. It is, but it happens, right? It happens. And that's the thing. What is it?
[00:18:04] Not Freudian. What's the thing? Anything that can happen will happen. Yeah,
[00:18:08] Jordan Harbinger: just straight up probability, but I don't know exactly
[00:18:10] Forrest Galante: what you're aiming at right now. Yeah, it doesn't matter. But anyway, yeah, but it was really cool. It was interesting. That part of Australia is absolutely incredible. Super wild that Ningaloo Reef region is, you know, next to the Great Barrier Reef.
[00:18:22] Honestly, it's way more impressive than the Great Barrier Reef, if you ask me, as far as life and biodiversity. But yeah, it was just a really cool place to be. Tons of marine life, big snakes, big sharks, like you name it. It was awesome. How
[00:18:33] Jordan Harbinger: big are the sea snakes? They're not that big because you can lift it up with one hand while milking it with the other, right?
[00:18:38] Forrest Galante: Yeah, they kind of like six, seven feet long. You know, some of them get about as thick as your forearm, but some of them are sort of skinnier and lankier. The problem is the maneuverability of them. They're not, big snakes are usually not scary. It's the small ones that are scary. They're more maneuverable.
[00:18:53] They're faster. They can whip around and get you. If a snake's eight feet long, you can grab it by the tail and sort of pull and its head kind of get there very quickly. If it's a foot long. The second you touch its tail can whip around and bite you. So, yeah, no, they're, uh, they're, they're very maneuverable little buggers.
[00:19:07] Jeez. I
[00:19:08] Jordan Harbinger: remember getting bitten by this baby brown snake and I don't know if it's poisonous or venomous, sorry, in the United States. I know in, is it in Australia? The brown snakes are super venomous.
[00:19:18] Forrest Galante: Brown snakes are, yeah, deadly for sure. There's something in the
[00:19:22] Jordan Harbinger: United States that's a brown, it's literally a brown snake.
[00:19:25] And. It does bite, because it bit me, but luckily, I remember it was in Boy Scouts. It was a tiny little, it was like three inches long, baby snake. It bit me, but I had a callus on my finger from doing stuff with wood, firewood, at Boy Scout camp. And it didn't, the teeth didn't go through the callus. And I remember thinking, Did I just narrowly avoid going to the hospital slash dying or is this just a snake that has no venom that just happened to bite
[00:19:51] Forrest Galante: me because I was screwing with it?
[00:19:53] Where was this? What part of the country? This is Michigan. Northern Michigan. Odds are it was a, it was a harmless garter snake or water snake, but uh, yeah, you'll never know. You will never know. I
[00:20:02] Jordan Harbinger: will never know. I found it in a vending machine in a coin return of a vending machine. Wow. That's bizarre. It was warm in there.
[00:20:08] Yeah. It was warm in there, so it probably like figured out how to get in the vending machine. We look for quarters in the coin return as you do when you're a kid. Sure, of course. And I found a little tiny snake. That's crazy. It was cool at the time. Now it would absolutely give me nightmares. Yeah. I would never touch it.
[00:20:24] But as a kid, I was like, whoa, I found a snake. And everyone's like, sweet, bring it back to the tent and keep it next to where you sleep. What could go wrong?
[00:20:32] Forrest Galante: Well, I still do that, and I'm not a kid, so don't, don't sweat it. Yeah, you get paid to do that. Exactly. You get paid to do
[00:20:37] Jordan Harbinger: that now. You're famous for that.
[00:20:38] Yeah, all I did was, uh, either almost, at least have a puncture wound on my hand, uh, at the very sort of best case scenario. What about giant anacondas? People tell me these stories like, oh, when I was in the Amazon, I saw a 20, 30, whatever add number of foot anaconda or snake, but it always sounds like something.
[00:20:59] I'm like, oh, did you do, uh, ayahuasca when you were down there? And they're like, yeah. And I'm like, that didn't really happen then. You're just confused and had a fever dream and now you think you rode a snake or something like that. Right. Are those real? Do they exist? And how big do they
[00:21:11] Forrest Galante: get? Well, it depends on your definition of giant, but there are certainly giant snakes.
[00:21:16] I mean, my team and I were catching. 19 to 21 foot anacondas in Brazil. Yeah. Uh, just about a year and a half ago now. And you know, we've, I've caught bigger articulated pythons around that length. I've seen African rock pythons that get up to like 18 feet. So, I mean, there are big snakes. I think the stories you hear are the 40 foot snake and things like that.
[00:21:36] I don't think people realize how large 40 feet is. You know, if you see a 20 foot snake, which weighs 500 pounds, by the way, and is as thick around as the trunk of our bodies. You think that that's for a 40 foot long animal, right? You look at it and go, holy crap, look at the size of that thing. And you just, you know, you tell your friends, Oh, I saw a 40 foot long snake or a 30 foot, everybody embellishes everything.
[00:22:00] That's part of storytelling, right? Yeah. But, um, you know, I think that's what happens. And the rumors and the legends go bigger and bigger. But I'll say this snakes, like most reptiles, while it does slow down, they grow until they die. So all it really takes. Is a snake to live a really long time of a large species to live a really long time.
[00:22:19] And sure enough, you get a really big snake. I was curious
[00:22:22] Jordan Harbinger: about this because every photo that I see, it's either a super wide angle lens or it's next to a person that would have to be like two feet tall for it to scale correctly. Right. And if you just look at it for more than a few minutes or seconds, you realize it's.
[00:22:35] What is it called when something, when they do deliberately distort the photo using a lens? Forced
[00:22:40] Forrest Galante: perspective. Forced
[00:22:41] Jordan Harbinger: perspective, yeah. It's forced perspective. Yep. Where you see this and you go, wait a minute. That would make this tractor really, really tiny. Yeah. Or something along those lines. Like this doesn't make it, this car.
[00:22:53] Must be the smallest car anywhere if it's this length, right? It just doesn't make any sense or a huge biggest car. So where do these big snakes live? Amazon definitely heard the guys who are the guides talking about big snakes. But again, storytelling, where else would these live? The ocean seems like a likely place for a
[00:23:10] Forrest Galante: big ass snake.
[00:23:11] Yeah, so Amazon and Indonesia, Southeast Asia are the main two, because that's where you get reticulated python, Burmese python, referring to Southeast Asia. And And Indonesia. And then the Amazon is where you get anacondas. But and I was telling I was telling Rogan about this. There's a fascinating story of a Colonel Remy something or other who was a Dutch pilot during World War Two, highly decorated, where him and his two colleagues in the helicopter were flying over the Congo, a location where Giant snakes are not reported to live and all three of them reported.
[00:23:45] I want to say 50 I don't know. I I said it wrong on Joe Rogan got blasted but um, uh, they reported like a 50 foot snake in the Congo And all three of them saw it. They even got a photo of it. If you google it. Yeah, i'm looking it up Yeah, they flew over it three times and got a photograph of it and it's pretty remarkable because there are not supposed to be big snakes in the Congo and the Congo is Undeniably one of the least well studied jungles and areas in the world.
[00:24:11] And also, by the way, it makes perfect sense for there to be a giant snake there because all these snakes hang out in wet, tropical, dense forests, which is exactly what the Congo is. Every large, wet, tropical, dense forest on the planet has its own version of a large snake. Except for the Congo, for some weird reason.
[00:24:29] So why it doesn't have a big wetland snake like a reticulated python or anaconda with all those prey sources is hard to say. So I believe there's a lot of validity to the story. I don't believe that it was 50 feet long and lunged at the helicopter the way that they think it did. It says
[00:24:42] Jordan Harbinger: 25 feet here, according to like the guy's own account, which.
[00:24:46] Still isn't massive. Enormous. And also they were in a helicopter. So how do they know how long it was in? I mean, it's, it's, they do have a photo, but it's, it's a world war two photo taken from a moving helicopter and a handheld camera. So whatever. Yep. That's still a big darn snake, man. I think any snake over a couple of feet long is like
[00:25:03] Forrest Galante: hard pass.
[00:25:04] For me, I don't know how to pull up photos on here. I'd show you some of the like 20 footers that we've caught, but they don't look 20 feet. I mean, I look tiny next to a 20 foot snake. Yeah, yeah, I don't know. It's hard to explain. A 25 foot snake is a very, very large snake that's incredibly powerful and incredibly capable of hurting someone.
[00:25:22] I mean, that's a big
[00:25:23] Jordan Harbinger: What would they do to a human? Would they actually eat a person, or would they just squeeze you until all your bones break and let you writhe
[00:25:29] Forrest Galante: around until you die? Well, both. I mean, uh, anacondas have never really done it, but, uh, there's a tribe called the Aida tribe in the Philippines, and they're a tribe of pygmies who have regular incursions from reticulated pythons, where the reticulated pythons will come out of the jungle canopy.
[00:25:47] And eat people. Now, they're smaller people, like I said, I mean I was gonna say,
[00:25:50] Jordan Harbinger: they're pygmies. Yeah. Sucks. Sucks to be food sized, snack sized, fun sized A fun sized person in a jungle with big snakes is not a good It's not a
[00:25:58] Forrest Galante: good combo. It's not a good strategy for survival. But, just scale it up, right? So those are 18 foot snakes eating 5 foot people, and I'm making up these numbers, you know, rounding out these numbers.
[00:26:08] So a 25 foot snake would very easily eat a 6 foot person, so, um, and they have, by the way, like, there have been accounts of larger people being eaten, especially by reticulated pythons. They're more, much more likely to attack than, uh, than an anaconda. So yeah, no, they would eat a person. They'd come in, bite you, wrap you up, uh, crunch, you know, basically just asphyxiate you, break all your ribs, and crunch you to nothing.
[00:26:31] And then, um, sure enough, they'd, uh, they'd, uh, they'd swallow you up. And I don't want to say this because I'm fear mongering about something that doesn't really happen. I'm just pointing out it's very, very capable of doing that.
[00:26:44] Jordan Harbinger: We've all seen the movie Anaconda where John Voight gets eaten alive. So,
[00:26:48] Forrest Galante: uh, yeah, I just remember Ice Cube in it.
[00:26:50] It's been
[00:26:51] Jordan Harbinger: a minute since I've watched a documentary as fine as
[00:26:54] Forrest Galante: Anaconda. That's right. And Jennifer Lopez. Yep. Uh huh. Right.
[00:26:57] Jordan Harbinger: Oh God, I forgot she was in that. That's right. Oh my gosh. So let's talk about something that's not going to give us nightmares. You went into this cave system in Laos that you said was so big.
[00:27:08] It has its own weather system. Is that for real? Or is it just
[00:27:11] Forrest Galante: humid in there? No, it's for real. So, you know, you're in like super tropical, dense Vietnamese jungle where it's like 105 degrees out. The air is heavy. It's so humid. And you go into this cave system and parts of it are warm, sticky. Humid other parts of it are freezing cold and windy.
[00:27:32] I mean, you know, keep in mind you can fit an upright empire State building inside of this cave. Like this is not are you for real? Oh, i'm dead serious It's a hard to imagine how big that is. That's so Wow, not only is it hard to imagine it's hard to like because you're in complete blackness for the most part And you're shining around even with like our very high powered flashlights You still have a field of vision that's like, you know, the size of a flashlight spot, you know, So maybe six feet wide at the end or something and you're shining around this cavern That is like 10 walmart super centers in width plus a hundred of them stacked tall like it's unbelievably large It's hard to actually like yeah, like I said, I mean, you know, you can stand up the empire state building You could land a jetliner inside of them.
[00:28:18] They're so big and it's just uh Yeah, it's sort of unfathomable to be honest. It is incredible how big the Songdoon cave system is. This
[00:28:26] Jordan Harbinger: obviously has animals in it that can't exist anywhere else than I would imagine if there's that much room in there. There's got to have their own ecosystem and everything like that.
[00:28:34] You always see those like blind fish and blind frogs that live in caves. I'm having a little bit of a moment here because that big of an empty black dark space. Is somewhat terrifying for absolutely
[00:28:46] Forrest Galante: no good reason. And it's crazy too, because within it, not only do you have its own weather system, its own endemic species, albeit most of them are smaller, but still, you know, there's unique snails, frogs, fish, so on and so forth, eels.
[00:29:00] You also have its own terrain. So part of it has like white sandy beaches with clear water. Part of it has rushing rivers. Part of it has, you know, very little vegetation where there's no light as you can imagine. But, um, you know, part of it's really rough, like rocky, difficult to traverse. And where we camped multiple times was like beautiful white sand beaches next to clear water, just in close to pitch blackness.
[00:29:26] Wow. It's pretty fascinating.
[00:29:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. What did you go in there to do? To look at some kind of animals inside these caves?
[00:29:32] Forrest Galante: Yeah, so at the end of the six mile long cave system is a big collapse in the cave roof. And there is its own jungle that sits below the floor of the main jungle above. And we were looking for an animal called the saula, also known as the Asian unicorn.
[00:29:47] The most recently described large mammal. They were only described in, I want to say 95. It's a bovid meaning related to cows, beautiful, beautiful creature. And, uh, nobody knows whether they're extinct or alive, whether they're gone, whether they're still there, there's odd sightings, blah, blah, blah. And so we, I had this theory that potentially.
[00:30:05] In this jungle, which is so inaccessible, if Salah had made it in there because they, they were known to have some presence around caves and things like that, they would at least remain unharmed. And we also, this never made the show, but we also collected a bunch of ticks and leeches of which there were many and took their blood to check their DNA to see if the blood in the leeches had been eating Salah.
[00:30:27] Um, that was inconclusive, but regardless. The idea was to look for this unicorn, pretty much this real unicorn, not a fake unicorn. Yeah. When you
[00:30:37] Jordan Harbinger: say unicorn, do you just mean it's rare or does it have a horn in the center of its head like a
[00:30:41] Forrest Galante: unicorn? It has two perfectly symmetrical horns that when looking at it from a side profile align so perfectly that it looks as though it has one staggering unicorn horn.
[00:30:52] You're listening to
[00:30:55] Jordan Harbinger: the Jordan Harbinger show with our guest Forrest Galante. We'll be right back. This episode is sponsored in part by Cometeer. So, I got this 3, 000 friggin killer coffee machine, like a douchebag, and you think, oh, I'm on coffee nirvana, right? Well, don't judge me, I got it during the pandemic.
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[00:34:12] You can find the course at jordanharbinger. com slash course. Now, back to Forest Galante. Fascinating. So this, you said it's a really inaccessible remote place. I'm going to Laos in October of 2024. Nice. And I'm like, oh, I wonder if we'll go check out this cave. But if it's super in the middle of nowhere, it's...
[00:34:31] It's, it's
[00:34:32] Forrest Galante: unlikely. It's in Vietnam. It's in the very middle of nowhere. It's in Vietnam. I don't even have the right country. Nevermind. That's okay. But I will say this. If you're going to Laos, where are you going in Laos? I'm not even
[00:34:41] Jordan Harbinger: sure. It's an adventure trip with an itinerary where they don't really tell you.
[00:34:44] They just tell you what to pack because they don't want everybody to complain or
[00:34:47] Forrest Galante: make suggestions. Gotcha. Well, I went to Laos, uh, in my younger years and there's probably stories I shouldn't share from Laos. But, um, we went to a place. It was Vieng Vien, and Vieng Vien was this, I think they shut it down, somebody told me, but it was this backpacker's paradise, it was this river in the middle of the mountains where, and I'll try and not, uh, try and not, uh, what's the word, like condemn myself here too much, but it's this backpacker's paradise in the middle of nowhere with this river floating through.
[00:35:19] And all of these like hookah bars that serve you anything you can think of not just hookah got it Uh with a bunch of futon couches and you know You spend like 15 cents on a bowl of pho and they bring you the pho and there's uh There's like family guy on all these tvs in vietnamese And then uh, you go float down this river and along this river.
[00:35:39] It's lined with All these makeshift like rope swings rubber inner tubes crazy slides and each bar Serves its own specialty cocktail of drugs and alcohol and uh, it's it, you know and there's a reason that kids die there because they go and I mean You know, I won't go into too much detail, but you rock up to the crazy looking bar with the weird techno that's all over the stunning river in this insane location, the bunch of people partying and backpackers and you're like, how it's like that, um, the Brad Pitt movie, the, or no, uh, Leo DiCaprio movie, the island, the beach, the beach, the beach,
[00:36:14] Jordan Harbinger: the beach.
[00:36:15] Yeah, the beach.
[00:36:15] Forrest Galante: Yeah. You're like, how did these people get here? Like this is the middle of nowhere. How did we find this place? Yeah. And then, um, yeah. Yeah, you like rock up to the bar and the guy's like, you want a milkshake? And I'm like, uh, no, I don't want a milkshake. I want a beer. He's like, you, you don't like milkshake?
[00:36:29] You have a milkshake. I put mushroom. I put ecstasy. I put weed. I put, you know, and I'm like, I, I put, you know, opium. I'm like, no, no, no. I don't want any of those things in my milkshake. In fact, I'm going to just have a beer, but it's, it's a crazy place. Yeah. I
[00:36:42] Jordan Harbinger: want to see you open the bottle of when you have anything you serve me.
[00:36:45] Yeah, I'll put it myself. Yeah, that is. No wonder kids die. That sounds like a terrible milkshake. Not even just the taste, which I can imagine is absolutely vile, but mixing ecstasy, weed, opium, and, uh, mushrooms. Yep. It does not sound like a good time. And then just, Hey, go ahead and have fun swinging from high altitude
[00:37:05] Forrest Galante: into the water.
[00:37:06] Exactly. What could go wrong? Exactly. No, it's a pretty wild place. So anyway, if you're going there, make sure you have yourself a nice opium milkshake and good luck to you. Yeah. Oh my God.
[00:37:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. For 15 cents. That sounds. That sounds terrible. I would. Yeah. I'm
[00:37:21] Forrest Galante: too old for that. Oh yeah. Yeah. Way too old. Yeah. I was too old for it at 23.
[00:37:26] So yeah. No man. It's gnarly.
[00:37:29] Jordan Harbinger: If you survive that milkshake, the hangover has really got to be something special. Like an unforgettable four days where you are just hating every minute of life. No question.
[00:37:38] Forrest Galante: Oh
[00:37:39] Jordan Harbinger: my God. You searching for these extinct or thought to be extinct species. Are they just missing in inaccessible areas like this bovid unicorn creature you were looking for?
[00:37:49] Basically like, look, we don't know if it's extinct, but nobody's seen one because it's either so remote or it's in a dangerous place. Is that generally the
[00:37:58] Forrest Galante: case? That's a huge part of it. And look, Since we did that Extinct or Alive show and I put in all this work looking for these lost species, it's become way more of a thing now in wildlife science and biology.
[00:38:10] I think we talked about this last time. Like when I first proposed the idea, I was like a Bigfoot hunter tinfoil hack guy, right? It was like, okay, you're insane. Like it's declared extinct. It's gone. What's the matter with you? Like I had all these old professors and stuff that I was a lunatic for even proposing such a stupid idea.
[00:38:29] And then we found one, two, three, eight different lost species. And then all of a sudden there's now, it's pretty funny when I look at it, there's like, and I won't name organizations or point fingers, but there's like six or seven different groups and organizations that are on the quest for lost species, hunting, missing animals, and like.
[00:38:46] Not hunting to kill but like all these like very notable groups some of which were the same exact groups that laughed at me and called me a quack are now doing it themselves and you know hiring their own trackers and biologists and blah blah blah which is pretty hilarious because uh yeah it came from a place of like you don't know what you're talking about and the reason that's a very long winded way of answering your question but the reason that I always thought hey wait a minute like This isn't whack job tinfoil hat stuff is because it's so incredibly arrogant to assume that we definitively know whether or not something is gone, especially when it comes to super remote, like other countries, incredibly hard to access places, places and you look at like, Oh, when was this declared extinct?
[00:39:32] Oh, in 1973, some British scientist is Went there for two weeks, you know, probably hung out in like a really luxurious camp looked for it I'm, not saying they didn't give it a good shot, but looked for it didn't find it came home and said it was extinct And it's like that's it now We've written off the species is gone all conservation and funding and hope for it has dried up and gone away completely Doesn't that seem like a wax system that we just trusted this one guy who went there once 30 years ago for two weeks, you know, and it's like, wait a minute, there's something, the system's broken.
[00:40:04] And I think that was the thing is like, I realized the system was broken more so than like, I have all these incredibly special talents for finding animals. It was just like, the system's wrong, and I'm gonna go show you
[00:40:14] Jordan Harbinger: how. That makes sense. Plus, also, they didn't have, you mentioned, looking at a tick's blood, looking for DNA, like, they didn't have anything like that.
[00:40:22] Exactly. They probably went there, looked around at the usual spots, then asked the guides, Hey, when's the last time you saw one of these? Oh man, I haven't seen one of those for at least a few years. Alright, they're all gone. Nobody was looking inside a leech's gut or whatever leeches have for the blood of the species that you're looking for.
[00:40:39] I mean, you said it was inconclusive, but it was a pretty, it's a pretty clever way of
[00:40:44] Forrest Galante: looking for clues. We did a lot of that kind of stuff and still do, by the way, like eDNA, environmental DNA, where you can take a water sample and go, Hey, did this rare fish or turtle poop in this water at all in the last...
[00:40:54] Three weeks, you know, like let's check the water or taking the blood from leeches or mosquitoes, you know, catching a bunch of them and taking the blood and going, did it bite this animal? Yeah. We took fecal samples from sharks to see if they were eating these rare seals, you know, like we, these sort of innovative techniques of sort of wildlife forensics are the technology is, uh, is advancing.
[00:41:15] So it's allowing us to be more creative and do more and more of these kinds of tests and things. It's just, um, it's a real headache still.
[00:41:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I bet. You said you found eight or was that just a random number? How
[00:41:26] Forrest Galante: many of you? Wow. It is the number thus far. Yeah. Eight species that were previously lost to science.
[00:41:30] It's actually nine. It's just, we didn't make a show about the ninth one. Uh, we were there doing a human wildlife conflict on spectacle bears in Peru. And then, uh, literally the gardener, it wasn't the gardener, but it was like the guy that was in the makeshift kitchen was raking through the kitchen scrap slash compost heap.
[00:41:49] And found this tiny little what looks like an earthworm as a species of blind snake that hadn't been seen in 70 years. So we've actually found nine at this point. Yeah. So, you know, I can't take all the credit certainly because it's, there've been collaborations. And like I said, it wasn't me who found the blind snake.
[00:42:05] It was the guy cleaning the kitchen, but he handed me this sort of beat up worm looking thing. And I was like, wait a minute, that's a blind snake. And I didn't even know blind snakes occurred in this part of Peru, which ended up being, you know, a lost species. So yeah, no, we, we found nine. Big part of the message is just going look.
[00:42:19] I didn't
[00:42:20] Jordan Harbinger: realize how common it is to find new species You know, you think it just never happens or it requires a decade long expedition because you see things like that in movies Sure, but when I went to I went to the amazon, uh last or a couple years ago And they have a guy who collects moths. Like that's his whole thing.
[00:42:37] And he's like, come tonight and look at the moth cloth. And there's this cloth with a light shining on it. There's a billion different moths. And we all went out there. And he's like, hey, collect moths with me and help me label them. And all this stuff, basically real science kind of grunt work as an intern would do.
[00:42:55] And he's like, you might find a new species. And I was like, yeah, whatever. And it turns out that somebody on our trip did find a new species of moth. And I said, how often does this happen? And he goes, Oh, I would say every couple of months we find a new one. I'm like, wait, every couple of months, you find a brand new species of moth, not like a different color of the same one.
[00:43:14] Right. He's like, no, totally different. Yep. That is incredible that there are just hundreds of thousands or millions of different species of insect animals that. No one's looked for them because they only exist in this area where there's one guy collecting a hundred samples a night and he's literally recruiting like dumbass, half drunk tourists, backpackers to help label and categorize these things because there's too
[00:43:37] Forrest Galante: many.
[00:43:37] What's crazy is So speciation is one thing, like how you determine a new species. Um, and I won't get into the whole thing of that because as time has progressed, we've got, with technology progressing, we've got more and more and more ways to decide that something's its own species. So you have a lot of like, hardened academics who's really excited to just name new species.
[00:43:58] So they look for reasons for something to be a new species. So they look at two moths that are identical that occur in the exact same location that have the same role in the environment, but they go, Hey, there's, these are two different species because one comes out during the day and one comes out during the night.
[00:44:11] And here's a tiny piece of genetic evidence that supports that. And then they get to write a paper and name a moth after themselves. So I'm not saying this guy was doing that, but that is sort of one of the. Shady's the wrong word, but one of the things that scientists are doing now to sort of give themselves an edge and be like, Oh, I named a species.
[00:44:29] I did this. So there's that factor. And then the other is. Like you said a lot of it's just not looking in places that there's it's just understudied, right? Like who's going to the heart of the amazon to count moths? Who's going to the middle of sumatra or borneo? Or certain places in africa or south america or wherever to look at beetles or look at snails or whatever and then people do it and go Yeah, yeah, find a new species every few months, you know, because nobody else has ever looked or tried to do this.
[00:44:55] So, you know, it's not happening in our backyards in California because that's so well studied by first world science, but it is happening in these remote locations with high species diversity like tropical wetlands and things like that. And it's, uh, yeah, it's fascinating.
[00:45:09] Jordan Harbinger: It's so interesting. And I would imagine there's a lot of, especially with insects, because in 1950, it was probably really hard to catch a fly that you can barely see.
[00:45:18] And then go, Oh, well, this one has different, I don't know, exoskeleton properties. It would just be hard to even examine something like that at that a hundred years ago. And so you have new tech that's even able to look at like the, what is it? The genetic, what do you call that? The genotype of something and be like, Oh, this is actually new and we didn't know it because it looks just like another ant.
[00:45:39] Exactly. How much has. Conflict and war prohibited exploration of certain areas. I'm thinking, like, Colombia, right? The FARC controlled all this territory. And then it's like, oh, peace deal. And now you can walk into a place where you would never, ever in a million years have gone a couple decades ago because you would have been immediately killed or kidnapped for 20 years.
[00:46:02] Forrest Galante: I don't know if that's your perfect setup for what we did in FARC rebel control Colombia or not, but, um, yeah, no, it's, uh, so exactly to your point, you know, there was a species of crocodilian called the Rio apoporus Cayman, which is a long nosed yellow crocodilian. That lived in one and only drainage, the Rio Apaporis drainage, which had been controlled by the FARC rebels since the 80s, 70s.
[00:46:27] I don't remember anymore. And, uh, you know, literally immediately after the peace treaty was made when things were still very, very, and they still are very dangerous down there. It's like, there's still a lot of FARC issues. We went and grabbed a cocaine dealers, a giant B like cargo plane and flew into the strip in the middle of Columbia.
[00:46:46] And went and found this lost to science species of crocodilian. Wow. Which couldn't have been doing better, by the way. It was absolutely thriving in this remote Colombian jungle. It's not like there was one or two left, and we found it, and oh my god, you know, what a, what a heroes we are for finding it.
[00:47:02] Not at all. Myself, this other scientist, Sergio, who's working in a different part of the region, I found out later, had found massive populations of these caiman because nobody had been going there because the fart rebels had controlled it and they weren't interested in killing these crocodiles. So there was just tons of them and they were absolutely thriving.
[00:47:21] They're super healthy. They had tons to eat. Like things couldn't have been better. for the crocodilians. They weren't so great for the people of the region, but for the crocodilians, things couldn't it wasn't that bad. I mean, everybody was happy and healthy, but, uh, you know, they I remember that are like river guide.
[00:47:36] The guy taking us up the river was like Hey, you know, like we're chatting with him one night around the fire and he's like, yeah, you know, been running, running drugs for a lot of years and come up here and blah, blah, blah. And he's like, yeah, if you guys had come like a year ago, we definitely would've cut your heads off.
[00:47:49] But you know, things are okay now. And we're like, Oh, that's cool.
[00:47:55] Jordan Harbinger: I was going to say alleged cocaine dealer, but that's by far the, that's the least of his crimes.
[00:47:59] Forrest Galante: Apparently. Oh no. He said it like it wasn't even a thing. Jeez.
[00:48:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's a little scary. Can I have somebody say, yeah, we would have cut your heads off, but nah, it's fine now.
[00:48:07] It's like, really? What? So this piece of paper that's over in Bogota is the reason I'm alive right now? That's Right.
[00:48:13] Forrest Galante: Mildly terrifying. And keep in mind, we were like the middle and, you know, like he could have cut all our heads off and just buried us and gone about his day, you know, doing whatever he did.
[00:48:21] Mm hmm. And nobody would have known, nobody would have It wouldn't have made no difference, but his, whoever his higher ups were obviously didn't care anymore. So they were like, yeah, you don't need to murder them. And it was like, all right, we'll just take you up the river instead. Sure.
[00:48:34] Jordan Harbinger: I read somewhere that you found a tortoise where they'd only seen one.
[00:48:40] Yeah. And they, of course, they killed it immediately as a specimen because that's what science was a hundred years ago. And you found it, I want to say, because somebody said, I saw tortoise bites in a cactus a few years ago. And that was the clue. That's such a small shred of hope
[00:48:56] Forrest Galante: to bank on. Well, we do all of our expeditions based on like a list of criteria to say, is it likely to still be there?
[00:49:04] And this one didn't meet that full list of criteria. But my gut instinct, I'm a turtle tortoise guy, right? Like I got turtles and tortoises all over. I love them. And, uh, anyway, my, I'm friends with the guys at the turtle conservancy up in Ohio, which by the way, if you're listening to this, go and Google it.
[00:49:18] It's incredible facility. This guy who's, uh, I don't know how he's raised the money, but he's built this insane facility to breed. Turtles and tortoises, which are one of the most endangered groups of animals in the world because they're being collected for soup, habitat loss, pet trade, blah, blah, blah. And, uh, anyway, I'm friends with the Turtle Conservancy guys.
[00:49:36] I went up there, I spoke to this guy, Russ, can't remember his last name, who'd been on Isla Fernandina in the Galapagos some 30 years prior, and had seen bite marks on this cactus and alleged scat, alleged tortoise poop, on an island. That only one specimen of tortoise had ever been found 114 years prior by the California Academy of Sciences, and it immediately been bopped on the head and stuffed and collected, as you said.
[00:50:02] And that was the only known specimen of this species in recorded history, period. There never been another known animal ever. And so, you know, Russ told me about these bite marks. I knew the story from 114 years prior, uh, about the California Academy of Sciences. And I was like, man, we gotta, we gotta go look, you know, like Fernandina Island's incredibly remote.
[00:50:23] It's incredibly barren and harsh, very difficult to traverse over, uh, volcanic, boiling hot, not a lot of vegetation. And so we partnered with a couple of people, the Galapagos Conservancy, the Galapagos National Parks. And we funded this expedition to head out there and myself and those two other organizations all went together and they sent representatives from their organizations And we had a great collaboration working together They wanted to go to the top of the mountain because it was the wettest area which I just didn't believe in And I wanted to go to a lowland area that had the most vegetation because I thought that made the most sense And we did their thing first.
[00:50:58] We're unsuccessful then on the second or third day We did my thing and went to this vegetative area And within a couple hours found this tortoise. And everything was wonderful. Collaboration was great. And then it all went a little sour after that. But we found, literally, I dove into this bush and picked up the rarest animal in the world.
[00:51:16] The only specimen living of the Fernandina Island tortoise. The one and only of its entire species. So, yeah, it was, uh, it was pretty incredible. Let
[00:51:25] Jordan Harbinger: me back up a little bit. Is the running theory, okay, there's cactus bites in, in, or sorry, tortoise bites in the cactus. And scat from this tortoise, they live so long that it doesn't matter that this was 30 years ago or whatever, it could still be there because tortoises live 100
[00:51:40] Forrest Galante: years or 200 years, whatever it is.
[00:51:42] Pretty much. Wow. It could have been that exact same animal. The problem is it's a very active volcano. I think it's the second or third most active volcano in the world. So these limited swaths of habitat get covered up by lava regularly. And it's down to only a few locations of habitat. So yeah, we went to the one that, like I said, I did a lot, you know, look, it's not like we just cowboy at all, right?
[00:52:03] Where we're like, Oh, let's go, let's check it out. Like we do a lot of research and prep and planning. And I'd found this location on a map to just based on the vegetation alone. I was like, that's where we got to go. And then, uh, yeah, sure enough, we went there and, uh, knowing that. The same animal that Russ had seen some 30 years prior could potentially have been in this swath of habitat.
[00:52:24] Or, sorry, he hadn't seen the animal. The same animal that left those bite marks could still be alive today. We went to look, and we found her. Oh
[00:52:32] Jordan Harbinger: my god, what are the odds? The odds seem incredibly... Slim. Yeah, I guess you're also lucky that that guy knew what tortoise bites look like because otherwise, I mean, if he wasn't an expert in that particular thing, You'd be like, uh, what did this guy really see?
[00:52:45] He saw some poop? He thinks it's from this rare species? Come on. For sure. He just happened to be, like, one of the few people in the world where you'd go, that guy knows tortoise poop when he sees
[00:52:53] Forrest Galante: it. And that's the thing, too, is because I, as you can imagine, I get dozens to hundreds of messages per week of people reporting to have seen an ivory billed woodpecker, a thylacine, a this, a that, and The amount that are credible to thylacine, uh, Tasmanian tiger, uh, super yeah Animal i'm obsessed with we can talk about that next but yeah The amount of reports that are credible are very very very slim, but when you have a phd doctor in turtles and tortoises who had been working on that island doing other surveys.
[00:53:25] I forget vegetation surveys or something and goes, yeah, no, I saw a tortoise bite mark. And we're literally sitting at the turtle conservancy with, you know, a hundred different species of turtle and tortoise around all taking bites out of cactuses. He's like, yeah, it looked like that. You take that pretty seriously, you know, that's a credible event.
[00:53:43] So, um, yeah, that's the thing is getting these credible reports and being able to follow those leads and weeding through that. Where do you
[00:53:49] Jordan Harbinger: get most of this stuff, like Instagram DMs where it's like, Hey man, I know you're just check it out. My dad was hunting and he saw this huge and you're like,
[00:53:57] Forrest Galante: okay, I could probably send you a screenshot of exactly what you just said, an Instagram DM where somebody goes, my dad was hunting and he saw blank.
[00:54:05] But uh, it comes in everywhere. I mean, in the beginning we just. you know, scrub the hell out of the internet and would just look everywhere and libraries and old papers and research. And then as we began to make a name for ourselves in the space of wildlife and conservation, people would start reaching out to us.
[00:54:21] And, and now, you know, I get a ton of reports through social media, through my website, and most of them are garbage, more than most of them. Yeah. That
[00:54:29] Jordan Harbinger: makes sense. Yeah. It's you're finding it. It's probably harder to find a credible DM or message incoming than it is to find a tortoise in Galapagos.
[00:54:36] Forrest Galante: And the amount of dick pics you gotta weed through to get to those sightings.
[00:54:40] Well that's just a bonus. You're welcome. Yeah. Literally. Um,
[00:54:45] Jordan Harbinger: uh, how do you get something like that tortoise, what do you do when you find that tortoise? Do you try to get them to reproduce? But if it, if it's the only one, well, do tortoises... Asexually reproduce?
[00:54:54] Forrest Galante: I don't even know. They lay eggs, they do not asexually reproduce, but they, they are able to retain sperm for very, very long amounts of time.
[00:55:01] So if that How long? Female, so I want to say like up to 60 years. Maybe it's less. Maybe it's 40. I'd have to check. I was
[00:55:07] Jordan Harbinger: not expecting that answer. I thought you were going to say like up to
[00:55:10] Forrest Galante: a month. No, no, no, no, no. 60 years. It might be 30, but whatever it is, it's a long period of time. So, you know, when we found fern, which was the female tortoise that we found, the one I was mentioning.
[00:55:20] She was very underweight, very malnourished, had a lot of ticks on her and so on and so forth. So we, not something I really wanted to do, but the Galapagos National Parks insisted we take her to the breeding center, the Fausto Lorena Breeding Center on east of Santa Cruz. So we, we scooped her up. We took her to this breeding center.
[00:55:37] She put on like 11 pounds in like three weeks, which by tortoise stats is wild because she was. Very hungry, very dehydrated, blah, blah, blah. And the hope was, well, there were, there were multiple hopes coming from my end. One was that, you know, maybe she had some sperm retention and was able to lay some fertilized eggs.
[00:55:54] That never took place. And the other hope was that we'd go back and find a male because once we found her, all attention was on that, right? There was no like, all right, let's chuck her in the bag and look for another one. That's not really what you do. Right. Right. So, um, All attention was on her. But then, um, yeah, the Galapagos National Parks, uh, Conservancy, whatever.
[00:56:11] I don't even know the group's names exactly. They've been back three or four times and been completely unsuccessful. Um, which is a pity because I think if I went back, I think if I went back, we probably would be successful again, but, uh, they're doing it on their own and they're not doing very well.
[00:56:26] Jordan Harbinger: So you said you didn't really want to take it to the breeding center.
[00:56:29] Forrest Galante: I should restate that. It wasn't that I didn't want to take her to the breeding center. It was that we found this crown jewel rarity of a creature and she seemed like the right thing to do is what we did, but it seemed difficult to take this animal out of her habitat. You know, that being said, her habitat fucking sucked.
[00:56:49] Like it was, Boiling hot there was nothing to eat. She was super dehydrated She was buried in under a bush like her life was not good Now she lives in this tropical like giant enclosure where she's fed cactus fruit all day long and like lounges around in a swimming pool And i'm not joking when I say that so her life is great now But if there were another male in that same patch of habitat, which I don't believe there was but if there was He's now got one less breeding female to mate with, right?
[00:57:17] If there's even any of them left. So, um, you know, it was the right thing to do if the management organizations were able to continue successful conservation efforts or continue repeated surveys, but they were not. And so that. Is really sad and difficult for the species because the outlook for that species is, it's very grim at the moment.
[00:57:37] It sounds like
[00:57:37] Jordan Harbinger: there's a little bit of competition among scientists for discoveries and stuff. A little bit. A little bit, yeah, a little bit. Because you mentioned the moth naming thing and the speciation thing and then I'm, I don't know, I'm no expert but I'm detecting a little bit of, maybe a little bit of, you said it went sour and maybe it's like, oh, okay.
[00:57:55] You said if we could go back but, I mean. I assume it's not you who can't go back. You haven't
[00:58:00] Forrest Galante: been able to go back. No, I haven't been invited back. I mean, look, I don't want to throw shade at anybody. I'm not going to name any organizations here and say they fucked up or anything like that. You don't have to do that.
[00:58:10] Here's what happens, right? Everybody goes to school. Everybody loves animals. They all get doctorates or PhDs and become researchers or biologists or scientists and then find out that there's absolutely no money in our field, right? There's none. There's like no money in wildlife. And so everybody. First of all, they all have egos.
[00:58:29] They all think they did it the right way. Like any doctor in anything they've, if it's not their idea, it's a bad idea. They're socially awkward because they're used to their animal people and not human people, and they're all competing for little bits of resources because they care about their species, by the way.
[00:58:44] And that's the important thing to point out here. They're not bad people. There are always bad eggs and everything, but for the most part, they're people who genuinely care about their species. And if the difference of 5, 000 can make a huge difference to them. Any of these researchers in any of these locations, and if they can be the one to name a species or accept credit or point out that they found something or point out that they save something, they might get that 5, 000 that otherwise would go elsewhere.
[00:59:12] And so, you know, their entire careers, reputations, lives and species rely on these career milestones of accomplishing something. And so there becomes massive like ego and competition and all this stuff, which Jordan, it. Freaking sucks because it should be a giant collaboration where we all work together and figure out how to do the best for the species.
[00:59:34] But the system does not support that. The system supports everybody working for themselves and trying to do something for their species, which in turn makes people like greedy and selfish. And then you throw human ego into the equation and it becomes a mess.
[00:59:51] Jordan Harbinger: This is the Jordan Harbinger show with our guest Forrest Galante.
[00:59:54] We'll be right back. This episode is sponsored in part by Shopify. Everyone's buzzing about e commerce. Who do millions trust to sling their products across the globe? The answer is Shopify. Shopify has been raking in close to half a trillion dollars worldwide while we buy a lot of stuff. If you've ever snagged something from Allbirds, Rothy's, Brooklyn, and YouView, Shopify, and hopefully you used our code because they were all sponsors of the show.
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[01:01:58] I like McDonald's, okay? And most people don't know that one in eight people in the U. S. have worked at McDonald's. That's a lot of people. As in 12. 5 percent of the U. S. population. That means one in eight Americans have probably experienced the art of throwing a McDonald's birthday party, or they know the feeling of the calm before the McDonald's lunch storm.
[01:02:16] They have seen the ice cream machine when it's actually working. I don't know if I'm allowed to say that, but I'm saying that. The copy now says, hosts then riff about all the shared memories these former McDonald's crew members must have. And I will tell you, they have to make the world's most famous fries, probably on the first day.
[01:02:31] They have to be able to make any kid's day with a happy meal. I mean, I still, now I buy those. I basically never stopped buying those. Throwing more birthday parties than anywhere else on earth, having every type of person in the world come through the store, and there are a lot of cool things McDonald's does as an employer that people might not even know about.
[01:02:46] I was talking to a manager at McDonald's and he told me they were paying for his college, which I think is pretty damn cool. A lot of companies don't do that anymore. McDonald's offers flexible hours and a schedule that works around your life, which means more time for life. They've got a lot of education opportunities, they teach English to people who might need it.
[01:03:01] Archways to Opportunity is a program that offers financial support for employees trying to graduate college. That was what that manager was doing. They got career education, advising, success coaches. I mean, they are sort of all in on their employees. And I could go on and on, but I won't. McDonald's is now serving much more than orders.
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[01:03:50] It's a shame, because, yeah, you're right, it should be like a giant collab, but science already is at war with other interests for money. Exactly. And attention, and the environment, essentially, so it's kind of a shame that there's also infighting, just by the design of the way the whole... The whole thing works.
[01:04:09] Some of the finds are skill and experience, but other stuff sounds like it. There's just a little bit of a luck component. Didn't you find a rare shark in a fish market that some guy had caught by mistake or something? I can't remember if I read this in your book, but you, you found some shark basically like, wait, you're selling this incredibly rare shark in the middle of
[01:04:27] Forrest Galante: nowhere.
[01:04:28] A luck component is definitely there, but it takes. Perseverance and the initiative to go and do the thing before you can get lucky, right? You're not like if we hadn't known and i'll explain the shark thing in a second that we were looking for pondicherry shark It would have just been another dead shark on the table, right?
[01:04:46] And so you only get lucky because you're already targeting something and looking for it and putting energy into it. So with that being said, my wife and I were in Sri Lanka investigating reports that the, the believed to be extinct Pondicherry shark. Had been in the Yala River in this Yala National Park.
[01:05:02] And, uh, me being the, you know, the hero that I am, poking fun at myself here, I was like, I'm gonna go offshore, I'm gonna take 10, 000 pounds of chum, I'm gonna look, I'm gonna get all these sharks around the boat, I'm gonna find the Pondicherry shark, I'm gonna catch it, I'm gonna do all this crazy stuff, charter this boat, get this team, get this captain, get all the divers, do all this stuff.
[01:05:21] And my wife's like, she's a zoologist, she's like, alright, well, while you do that, I'm just gonna go ask around. And she's like, I'm out on this like six day like mission spending way too much money like, you know, dumping bait in the water doing all the things that I thought would genuinely attract the shark I was looking for, but you know, like doing this like big preposterous thing and my wife's literally walking around fishing villages chatting to people showing them pictures of a shark on her phone and the one guy she's like, Hey, have you seen the shark?
[01:05:49] And he goes, Oh no, shark, I have shark, shark no good, buy lobster, buy lobster. And she's like, no, no, I don't want lobster. Do you know the shark? He said, yes, I have two shark, two shark. And she's like, all right, well, can you show me the sharks? He's like, come with me, come with me. So she like walks with him through his hut and lying on a table is literally like 15 beautiful, big succulent lobster, a pile of little fish.
[01:06:08] A dead bull shark and a dead Pondicherry shark. And she's like, Oh my God, that's the shark we're looking for. And he's like, shark no good, shark no good. You buy lobster. And she's like, no, no, I don't want lobster. I want that shark. Right. Like I'm not trying to eat this. Yeah. And it was so valueless to him that he didn't even want to sell it to her.
[01:06:24] So she traded him for a box of, she doesn't smoke, but she went and bought a, or she, uh, someone on the crew did. She traded him a box of cigarettes. For a lost species of shark that is now in the Sri Lankan National Museum. So yeah, it's pretty wild.
[01:06:39] Jordan Harbinger: I assume the next round of questioning is like, where exactly did you catch this shark?
[01:06:45] Do you know? Because Theoretically, there's not just one there,
[01:06:48] Forrest Galante: right? You do the whole thing. You do the whole thing. Where did you get it? What time of day? What time of night? Can we go out fishing with you? We then spent a week fishing with him. And of course, never caught another one. You know, we found out what estuary mouth it was hanging out at.
[01:07:03] Uh, we turned all this information over to the people in Sri Lanka that managed the conservation efforts of that habitat, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know, you do the whole thing. It's not like, Oh, cool. Got the shark moving on. But, you know, like what I do. I'm like the mercenary, right? Like I'm the guy you just call in to find the thing or catch the thing and then hand it off to way more capable scientists than myself to do the ongoing species management.
[01:07:25] Like I, I don't have time to like be like, okay, you know, like I found this now let's come up with a 12 point plan. That's going to take 15 years and like. All I can do is be like, all right, we found this animal. You now have a flagship species with which to build a conservation program around and show how important it is because this animal that we thought was gone is still there.
[01:07:46] Now you can extend your national park, enforce regulations, ideally unlock some funding, you know, so on and so forth. And so that's, that's sort of what we do, but. We certainly get as much information as we can while on the ground and dealing with it. I would imagine
[01:07:59] Jordan Harbinger: it takes some persuasion. Do these fishermen think like, I'm going to get in trouble.
[01:08:03] These white people came in and I caught this rare thing and now they want to like bring it to the Capitol. Are they worried they're going to get heat for this?
[01:08:11] Forrest Galante: Sometimes, but most of the time it's in such unregulated places that they it's not even a factor, you know, it's more like. Oh, cool. Like you like the shark, like here, you can have the shark.
[01:08:21] It's, it's worthless to me because there is no fishing regulation. There is no enforcement. It's okay that they were gill netting or whatever. Like there's no, they're not breaking any laws or doing anything wrong. So most of the time they don't care. The things that are hilarious that happen is like when we were in Columbia, and I'm showing pictures of this caiman, asking if they've seen the caiman, and the one guy goes, Oh yeah, very good, delicious.
[01:08:42] And I'm like, that's what everybody wants to hear. Like the extinct animal you're looking for is really tasty. Um, so, you know, you just, most of them don't care. Most of them are really happy to show you what they know and where the animals are and so on and so forth. I think
[01:08:56] Jordan Harbinger: you showed me this on Instagram.
[01:08:57] You might've posed to this. They're using. They, this company is using DNA to bring back things like the
[01:09:04] Forrest Galante: woolly mammoth. Yeah. How real is that? Extremely. Yeah. So I'm on the board of conservation advisors for Colossal Biosciences and Colossal Biosciences. Yeah. It's a, what a company they are headed up by Ben Lamb and George Church.
[01:09:17] Jordan Harbinger: he's legit. Yeah. He's like the OG. Yeah.
[01:09:20] Forrest Galante: Yeah. DNA. Exactly. Exactly. So, you know, that should tell you enough in itself. But, um, I can't say too much. But what I can say is you're going to want to see what happens at the end of this year because there's going to be something that the whole world is going to go, holy shit, at the end of this year.
[01:09:36] Other than that, what I can say is, without a doubt, thylacine, the animal I mentioned, dodo birds. And, uh, Woolly Mammoth are all gonna be walking around the planet in our lifetime. And I'm working with the team that's coming up with the conservation management plans for these species. And they're all gonna be walking the planet, thanks to Colossal, in our lifetime.
[01:09:55] And this is a big deal. This isn't, you know, Oh, I'm just this crazy, eccentric, Jurassic Park y billionaire. This has... Phenomenal grandiose conservation applications like the carbon emission offset from putting mammoths back in the Arctic tundra, the regulation of disease and explosion of Angela or not Angela, it's but fleet grazers in Tasmania by reintroducing the thylacine, you know, just the amount of hope.
[01:10:23] and righting humanity's wrongs that putting the dodo bird back in Mauritius is going to do. It's the most, everybody in the world knows what a dodo is, yet nobody alive today has ever even seen one. And, uh, you know, it's crazy. And, and this company is going to bring these animals back and like fix humanity's wrongs when it comes to wildlife.
[01:10:40] So it's very, very exciting. I
[01:10:42] Jordan Harbinger: don't know about that dodo thing, man. My uncle went hunting once and he swears he saw one out there.
[01:10:47] Forrest Galante: Send
[01:10:47] Jordan Harbinger: me the picture. I'll send you the photo on Instagram. No, that's really. Fascinating. Can you walk me through the conservation thing? I didn't quite get how putting a woolly mammoth back has a carbon offset.
[01:10:59] Can you explain
[01:11:00] Forrest Galante: that to me? With pleasure. Yeah. So a lot of people don't know this, but during the Pleistocene Epoch, during the Ice Age, Up in northern like Alaska, Canada, that area, the Bering Land Bridge, that was not big giant icebergs and crazy deep forest. That was an African savannah like grassland. I shouldn't say African.
[01:11:20] It was like an African savannah grassland. You know what I mean? It was this big open savannah. And the reason being, woolly mammoths were up there, and they used to knock over trees, and they would propagate all of these grass seeds. And so what that does is, that has multiple effects. that ultimately keep the permafrost on the ground longer.
[01:11:40] And while the permafrost is on the ground and not receding, all of the carbon that's trapped underneath that permafrost remains trapped because the habitat stays cooler. So by, let me explain it as simply as I can, by putting mammoths back up in what used to be mammoth steppe environment, the mammoths come along.
[01:11:57] They knock over the trees. Okay, when they knock over the trees that allows the grasses to grow and the ice to form and melt and ice and snow to create an ice cap over all of that, the mammoths then come along and trample that ice as they walk back and forth over it and push the snowpack into the ground.
[01:12:14] All of these effects together. No trees that are Pulling in sunlight that are breaking up the snow, no insulating snow layer that has a bubble of air under it, so on and so forth, allow the earth to be cooled more up to six degrees. And with that cooling that allows the permafrost to stay there longer as the permafrost recedes, as I'm sure you know, that releases all of that dead vegetation that's under there, which has a massive, massive carbon offput.
[01:12:40] So by putting mammoths back up in that environment, they're going to tailor that environment to be the way that it was before human beings drove those animals to extinction 30, 000 years ago and keep the Arctic colder, change the tundra, change the environment. I'm not talking about the whole Arctic, it's going to happen in portions and it's going to be done very regulated and cleverly and ultimately slow down the carbon release.
[01:13:04] Some insane number. I don't I don't remember the metric off the top of my head, which is going to combat global warming You know, it's going to slow down climate change substantially because we're not losing all of that Arctic ice That
[01:13:17] Jordan Harbinger: is really incredible. I had no idea. I just thought it I guess I never thought about how Animals could contribute to oh, yeah could protect against global warm.
[01:13:27] That's really That is just one of those examples of all the environment and ecosystems being like, interlinked to the point of, you know, like, you know that game Jenga? Yeah. Where everything is stacked together, but then if you pull out enough pieces, the whole thing falls apart. That's probably a decent
[01:13:42] Forrest Galante: analogy for this kind of thing.
[01:13:43] I think I'm the one who might have told that to you, but I use that analogy all
[01:13:46] Jordan Harbinger: the time. You may have. I do that often where I repeat crap to people and they're like, wow, That's okay. And then I look at their book and I'm like, crap, this is on chapter
[01:13:52] Forrest Galante: three. That's okay. That's okay. But yeah, it is just like Jenga.
[01:13:56] It's all connected. And you pull out the wrong tile and the whole thing collapses. So what, what Colossal is doing is they're putting some of those tiles back in. They're making the tower stronger. And that's really exciting. And look, from a selfish standpoint, I'm so excited. You know, I get to see Mammoth, Thylacine, Dodo.
[01:14:13] I get to interact with these animals that are. Just so incredible that our early human ancestors got to see and interact with and write those wrongs that humanity have caused. You know, dodo birds, we just would come along and bop them on the head out of boredom. They weren't even good eating. And, um, you know, and we wiped them out very, very rapidly.
[01:14:31] The fact that Mauritius is going to have its national bird back. For the first time in human history running around the island like that's so exciting. It's super
[01:14:39] Jordan Harbinger: exciting and it's, it's fascinating that it's going to be possible. Okay, not to rain on the parade, I have another possibly dumb question here, but if you bring a woolly mammoth back using this new technology, how is it born?
[01:14:51] Is it born out of an elephant? Correct. Okay, so it's, yeah, something gives birth to it and it's just, it doesn't give birth to its own species. Basically
[01:15:00] Forrest Galante: correct. So what they do is they take woolly mammoth and i'm going to try and simplify this as much as I can And by the way, i'm not george church. I'm not a geneticist.
[01:15:07] So i'm the guy that goes Hey, here's how we take care of these animals, you know, not not here's how we make them. So the how we make them is In the simplest form of my understanding is you take the closest living relative, in this case, the Indian elephant, and then you take existing DNA from woolly mammoth, of which we have tons.
[01:15:25] There's mammoth tusks, all that, you know, being found all the time and frozen mammoths in the ice and blah, blah, blah. And you compare the two and go, all right, you take this mammoth DNA. Here are the pieces of the DNA of the double helix that are missing. Let's pull those pieces over from the Indian elephant because they're super close.
[01:15:41] All right. So now we have this Indian elephant. Okay, well, we know that a mammoth was basically an Indian elephant that had a crazy cold tolerance. Add that. Alright, we know that a mammoth had a big, shaggy coat. Add that. We know it had bigger tusks. Add that. We know it had a larger forehead. Add that. And they genetically engineer all of these pieces of the puzzle and then impregnate a female Indian elephant with an embryo of this woolly mammoth, you know, artificially inseminated.
[01:16:09] And then 22 months later, the gestation period of an Indian elephant, it gives birth to a really hairy, big four headed, so on and so forth. Indian elephant. That's actually a woolly mammoth, a recreated woolly mammoth. And so that's. Yeah, that's the process. That's
[01:16:24] Jordan Harbinger: so interesting. It must freak out the elephant that gives birth to this hairy, freakish looking
[01:16:30] Forrest Galante: beast.
[01:16:31] Especially an elephant because they're so intelligent. They're probably like, Oh, I fucked up. Yeah. Who did I sleep with? What happened last night? Yeah,
[01:16:39] Jordan Harbinger: exactly. Um, that's, that is so, okay. That, that's amazing for sure. It's mostly the same DNA, but maybe not exactly the same as a real mammoth, is that the case
[01:16:51] Forrest Galante: then?
[01:16:51] I, uh, I'm sorry, I'm just blanking on the number right now. I want to say it's like 99. 6 percent the same. So I mean, very, very close. Is it
[01:17:01] Jordan Harbinger: habituated like a real mammoth would have been? You know how sometimes animals that don't have a mother, they raise them in a zoo and then it like can't find its own food because it doesn't know how?
[01:17:10] Is that going to be a problem for these mammoths?
[01:17:13] Forrest Galante: So it shouldn't be because, you know, if myself and the other conservation advisors, and by the way, they have an incredible board of people, like I highly encourage anybody to go check out Colossal Biosciences website and see who's on their team. People way more qualified and smarter than I am.
[01:17:28] Their goal is to not make this, you know, a fluffy, scruffy pet, right? Not something that runs around following a person around because it was hand raised in a zoo. The goal is, I'm sure with the first generation or maybe several generations, there's going to have to be a pretty good amount of human involvement, right?
[01:17:43] They just, they kind of just throw it out there and be like, figure it out. The idea would be after reaching a certain point of these animals, You know, they start to replicate and then they can raise their young and so on and so forth. Human contact should become very, very minimal. And it should just end up being the same as any other animal, you know, a deer or an elephant or anything else.
[01:18:03] Maybe they're not scared of people, but they're not habituated and, and need people for their survival. That's the idea. Are there
[01:18:10] Jordan Harbinger: any Unintended consequences that they might be worried about. Maybe this is a George Church question, but you know how like there's pigs in Hawaii because they brought them for food and now they screw up everything and dig up everything.
[01:18:21] Totally. Is there a big time? Is there an issue that could happen with a woolly mammoth with that population? There
[01:18:27] Forrest Galante: shouldn't be because we're not. Putting mammoths in Hawaii, you know what I mean? We're not, we're not introducing animals. We're not putting them in places they shouldn't be, you know, we're not bringing animals and relocating them.
[01:18:38] And, you know, there's no Jurassic park zoo being made. This is being made very intentionally and ethically in order to restore the environment, restore species that have been lost. And so all of the consequences. Should be similar to everything that we faced in human history. So for instance, a thylacine was driven to extinction, uh, due to the fact that farmers put a bounty on its head because they were killing Tasmanian sheep.
[01:19:03] Okay. So if we get a bunch of thylacine, it's not like we're going to just dump them in Tasmania and be like, Hey, good luck to you, you know, because three weeks later they're going to start killing sheep. So there's going to be a, a fenced in area. They're going to be monitored, blah, blah, blah. There's going to be a big campaign to let people know if reintroductions rewilding ever truly takes place.
[01:19:19] Into the whole island. Hey, everybody, you know, make sure you have a fence around your sheep and it should be an electric fence and blah, blah. So it's not like there's just going to like Jurassic park for instance, right? Oh, here's an Island where we just dumped all the animals come and take a train ride.
[01:19:31] You'll be fine. It's, it's not like that, you know, it's, it's very calculated. It's very thought through. I'm only a tiny, tiny piece of that group of people that are working on that, but it should, there shouldn't be any unintended consequences. That being said, who knows, right? When you put a mammoth back, we're probably going to learn stuff about mammoths we didn't know because they haven't been around for 30, 000 years.
[01:19:53] Maybe they're incredibly docile, maybe they're super dumb and come walking through people's living rooms. You know, maybe they're really, really violent. The history tells us they're not, but you don't really know. But the point is that we're not going to be so hands on with them that we really need to encounter problems.
[01:20:09] Jordan Harbinger: I suppose you could also breed the first few generations of these to not be super violent. Exactly. And to be mostly docile, but still walk around and crunch down snow. It seems like that's something. I mean, it's so fascinating to be. In the beginning of a species. Exactly. You have a blank slate with what you
[01:20:28] Forrest Galante: can do with this.
[01:20:29] This is going to be the biggest news in the world, first of all. It already sort of is in some regards. But when it actually happens, the whole world's gonna like come to a screeching halt to see this, right? For sure. We've been able to engineer them with bigger fur and longer tusks and larger size and blah, blah, blah.
[01:20:43] I think we could probably make sure and I'd have to check with George. I'm pretty sure we can make sure they're not, you know, overly aggressive or whatever else, because this is genetic engineering, by the way, you know, like we're not trying to, not trying to pretend it's not. We are, we are engineering animals to be back to what they were some 30, 000 years ago.
[01:21:01] So amazing,
[01:21:01] Jordan Harbinger: man. We'll have to do another show when the stuff is all public, because I know there's a lot you can't talk about on the record, but I, I'm blown away by this. And it, it seems like we could do with that technology. I mean, you could. There's so many endless possibilities. I'm speechless. Yeah.
[01:21:16] Mosquitoes that can't transmit disease. Oh yeah. But out compete current mosquitoes, for example. And that's just mosquitoes.
[01:21:22] Forrest Galante: So this is a big company, by the way. It's not like it's like me and a group of nerds in a room, you know, on the weekends. Yeah. This is a large company that's growing very rapidly and so on and so forth.
[01:21:32] But what we should do at some point, Jordan, is you, me, or maybe just you and Ben Lamb, the CEO, should jump on. Because he can talk you through... You know, I, I'm probably being too cautious because for obvious reasons, there's certain information I can't divulge, but yeah, he, he runs the show. So yeah, he's someone you'd be worth chatting with, but it is fascinating what they're doing, what, what the group is doing, the future of this, like.
[01:21:54] The profitability side of the business, the other animals that are on deck, uh, some of the larger implications for conservation, some of the larger implications for human health, like there's a lot going on with this and it's really exciting. Yeah, definitely
[01:22:07] Jordan Harbinger: introduced me to Ben. I would love to talk with him.
[01:22:10] I think that, I mean, provided that he's able to slowly explain a lot of this stuff to me, because a lot of it. It's kind of complex. I mean, I didn't even understand the, the carbon footprint thing, and that's
[01:22:20] Forrest Galante: probably the easy part. He's smart enough to explain it to me and I'm a dumb dumb. So I definitely think he can get it through to you.
[01:22:26] Jordan Harbinger: you very much, man. I really appreciate you coming back on the show. We'll have you back again at some point, I'm sure. And, uh, just always appreciate the work that you do. There's no scenario where I would go milk sea snakes. So it really
[01:22:38] Forrest Galante: does take not yet a special three more podcasts. We're going to talk again about that.
[01:22:42] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Thank you so much. All right, buddy. Thanks for having me.
[01:22:48] Jordan Harbinger: I've got some thoughts on this episode, but before I get into that, here's a preview of my conversation with one of Al Qaeda's most respected bomb and poison makers who swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden himself. Here's a quick listen.
[01:23:01] We took
[01:23:02] Aimen Dean: so many prisoners, 80 of them. We're taken to a clearing and it was decided there and then that these people will have to pay for the crimes what they did, seeing the bloodthirsty nature of people who just until a year ago, I used to see them as sweet, tender, decent, good people suddenly basically became people who would use chainsaws.
[01:23:24] to dismember these people alive. How could one year in Bosnia, one year off ugly conflict and these wonderful souls into ugly, bloodthirsty individuals. When I went to sleep that night, all I could think about was, how could I unsee what I've seen? None other than the mastermind of 9 11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
[01:23:48] He said to us, you should go to Afghanistan, where the training camps are reopening. To become good at bomb making, to become good at urban warfare, to become good at assassinations, at kidnapping. A new kind of war that will never be fought in the mountains anymore, but it will be fought in every urban center from the pole to the pole.
[01:24:10] Suddenly, you know, I thought that the nature of the war is changing from, you know, fighting in the mountains of Bosnia. I mean, basically we are talking about gassing people in cinemas and nightclubs and trains. Of course that was unsettling, but I thought this is just a ranting of one insane individual.
[01:24:25] Al Qaeda carried out its first serious attack against American interests. Everyone was jubilant in the camps, they were firing bullets into the air, you know, in celebration and shouting Allahu Akbar. We are no longer just a bunch of freedom fighters. We are now bona
[01:24:44] Jordan Harbinger: fide terrorists. To hear why and how Eamon Deane eventually switched sides from being a jihadi to spending eight years as an MI6 spy trying to take Al Qaeda down from the inside, check out episode 383 on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:25:02] Like I told y'all, fascinating guy. I mentioned some of the stuff about the woolly mammoth. I'm actually doing a whole show about that, so stay tuned for that. I'm doing that with the CEO of the company that is doing that, so we're going to get a real deep dive into bringing back extinct species using their DNA straight out of Jurassic Park, y'all.
[01:25:19] Really interesting and worth doing a whole show. I almost didn't even finish in time because it was so dang interesting, man, the ecosystem, the wildlife stuff. It is fascinating. And if I wasn't so comfortable in my air conditioned Casa here in California. I would consider, no, I would never consider going to the jungle with Forest, but I'm glad that we can do it through these conversations.
[01:25:39] All things Forrest Galante will be in the show notes at jordanharbinger. com or ask the AI chat bot also on the website. Transcripts are in the show notes. Advertisers, deals, discount codes, ways to support this show all at jordanharbinger. com slash deals. Please consider supporting those who support the show.
[01:25:56] We also have our newsletter. Every week the team and I dig into an older episode of the show and dissect lessons from it. Transcribed So if you are a fan of the show, you want a recap of important highlights and takeaways, or you just want to know what to listen to next, the newsletter is a great place to do just that.
[01:26:10] JordanHarbinger. com slash news. That's where you can find it. And don't forget six minute networking also at JordanHarbinger. com slash course. I'm at Jordan Harbinger on Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn. This show is created in association with Podcast One. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jace Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Milio Campo, Ian Baird, and Gabriel Mizrahi.
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[01:26:56] And in the meantime, I hope you apply what you hear on the show, if you need to milk any venomous snakes, for example, so you can live what you learn. And we'll see you next time. Thanks again to Nissan for sponsoring this episode. Let Nissan help you find your more at NissanUSA. com. This episode is sponsored in part by American History Tellers.
[01:27:16] In January 1692, several young girls living in Salem Village, Massachusetts started behaving strangely. They screamed, barked, and writhed in pain. Their elders concluded that, of course, witchcraft was to blame. Soon, the girls began accusing local women of bewitching them, and witchcraft hysteria swept through the small Puritan community.
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