CatCave9 S02E09: Swiss rich environments and ghostly nuts

In the Science Guest Spot: Tugce Bilgin Sonay from University of Zurich

We let the cats in! Outside it might hail and freeze, but down in the Cinema Oblò our MC Elliott heated up the crowd enough to conjure up a series of 9 improvisers that drove the cold right back out the door.

The renowned Geology Professor “The Rock” introduced us to very hard rocks and we found out that there is a Captain of Bicycles in the Swiss Army. After Tinkerbell won a bachelor’s heart in competition with Popsicle and Tacos (plural), we were all left wondering why Jesus didn’t get a better deal on his book. Oh, and then there was that legendary scene, where 4 people were selling and buying rubber chicken, which was performed by only Yuliy in its entirety.

Our science guest-speaker was Tugce Bilgin Sonay from the Evolutionary Genetics Group at the University of Zurich. Tugce talked about her research on orangutans living on Borneo and Sumatra and how the different availability of natural resources has led to evolutionary divergence of the two. Our improvisers were promptly inspired by this to recount the tale of a Frenchman, whose father had left him and his mother to cross the lake and live a better life in the abundance of resources that Switzerland offers. Naturally, he later took up politics and, in a touching speech, reminded us of the importance of having big hearts (especially in environments with scarce resources).

Our CatCave9 Journal-Couch is currently on hiatus, so, instead we ask our science guest speakers to comment on some of their recent articles. Here is Dr. Tugce Bilgin on her recent articleMorphometric, Behavioral, and Genomic Evidence for a New Orangutan Species1)Nater, Alexander, et al. “Morphometric, behavioral, and genomic evidence for a new orangutan species.” Current Biology (2017).

We discovered a new orangutan species based on multiple lines of evidence. Our finding does not only reveal a new orangutan species next to the two already known ones from Borneo and Sumatra, but also marks a new great ape species after many decades, which is sadly the rarest and the most critically endangered great ape species with only 800 individuals left.

In our final long form we condensed the drama resulting from “nuts”, “mosquito”, “fear” and “escape” in 4 different scenes down into 2 scenes, through several rounds of intense audience peer review. The final product was a highly captivating Malaria murder mystery in a haunted house, which spanned 3 generations of a family including, surprisingly, a monkey. Thank god the Sheriff sorted it all out in the end, with the help of Sam (the barman/assistant Sheriff) and their common love interest Meredith.

If you didn’t make it, don’t feel bad! Our next show will be the X-Mas show on Thursday 26th October at Cinema Oblo.


1 Nater, Alexander, et al. “Morphometric, behavioral, and genomic evidence for a new orangutan species.” Current Biology (2017).

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