Friday, 27 August, 2021

The four-legged whale dinosaur; the 7,000 year old teenager; Super Netball grand final time; and how to tell if your cat likes you.



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Four-legged whale dinosaur:

Cool Experiments for Science Week:


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Squiz Kids is proudly supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas



What do you get when you cross a whale with a dinosaur?

An four-legged whale dinosaur, that’s what. Which is what scientists in Egypt yesterday announced they had dug up, showing off the fossil of a terrifying creature that swam the world’s oceans 43 million years ago. The ancient whale was amphibious – which meant it lived on land and in the sea. So instead of having fins, it had legs. And according to paleontologists – who are people who study dinosaurs for a living – this one was one of the scariest predators in the sea – a really aggressive character that swam around chomping up everything it came across. 

I’ve stuck a link to a picture of the four legged dinosaur whale in today’s episode notes. 

It’s big day for kids at today’s national cabinet meeting … what’s a cabinet meeting? No, it’s not a meeting involving pieces of furniture .. it’s a meeting of politicians at which important decisions can be made about how the country is run. And in the case of national cabinet, it’s a meeting between the Prime Minister and the Premiers of every state – where decisions are made about how they can all work together to tackle the coronavirus.

On the agenda today – among plenty of other things – is whether we’ll be following countries like Canada and France and allowing kids aged 12-15 to get the COVID vaccine. Kids in the Northern Territory are already eligible to get vaccinated – we’ll have to wait and see now what happens in other parts of the country. 

According to medical researchers, kids that catch COVID are not likely to get seriously sick from it – but they can still pass it on to adults, who are more likely to fall ill. And it’s stopping transmission of COVID – or the passing it on – that doctors hope to achieve by vaccinating teenagers. As for kids under 12? It’s still too early to say when your turn will come, as tests continue to be carried out. 



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops, and today we’ve landed in Indonesia, where scientists are going crazy over a 7,200 year-old teenage girl. 

Okay, not really. What scientists are actually excited about are the bones of a teenager who died 7,200 years ago, and was buried in a cave. The scientists were able to extract—that means get out—some DNA from the skeleton, whom they’ve nicknamed Besse.  DNA is in every cell of every living thing, and it carries all the information about how that thing will look and function. By analysing the DNA, scientists found that Besse was part of a previously unknown group of humans. Around half of her genetic makeup is linked to indigenous people from Australia and Papua New Guinea, but she also has a link to East Asia. This completely challenges what scientists previously understood about how ancient people moved around the world. I wonder if like many teenagers, if Besse was alive she’d have heard this news and gone ‘whatevs’. 




Crack out your pleated skirts and get ready to shout ‘contact’! It’s time for the Super Netball Grand Final – and this year, it’s an all-NSW affair – with the state’s two teams, the Swifts and the Giants facing off against one another in Brissie. 

The Swifts are chasing their second Super Netball championship title in three years, and go into tomorrow’s game as favourites. That’s a sporting term meaning they are expected to win. 

But the Giants won’t be letting that bother them. They’ll be out to claim their first ever Super Netball championship trophy.

Oh – and yes, I know, no one actually wears pleated skirts anymore. That just shows my age.

The action kicks off at 3pm. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in front of the telly. And I bet you ten bucks a team from NSW wins … 




Do you own a cat? Do you know someone who owns a cat? Then maybe you’ve seen them display a behaviour called ‘kneading’ – which is when they gently push down on a surface with their front paws before settling down to sleep. Sometimes it’s a bed, sometimes it’s a cushion, sometimes – as was the case with my old cat – it’s their owner’s tummy.

Scientists reckon they’ve worked out why they do it. And part of the reason is it’s a cat’s way of showing they like you. It’s a sign of affection. Which is kind of amazing: because I’m definitely a dog person, and I didn’t think cats did affection unless it was dinner time and they were hungry. Scientists also think that by kneading a surface they’re about to sleep on, cats are also putting their scent, or smell on that surface … because they have scent glands between their toes. Which probably explains why my tummy used to smell like cat…



Big thanks to all of you who filled out the Squiz Kids survey … the feedback is excellent and will be really handy for us as we make future plans for the podcast. I’m also delighted to announce we have a winner of the Squiz Kids Survey competition …  all survey respondents went into a draw for a $200 Booktopia or Rebel voucher … and the lucky winner is Sheridan Furey from Warranwood in Victoria … who’s opted for the book voucher. Nice choice. And can’t wait to get some new books in for lockdown. And a special shout out to her son Eliot, who tunes in to Squiz Kids with mum every day .. so glad to have you on board the Squiz Kids train.   




It’s time for the S’Quiz, but before we jump in … the countdown is on people … Father’s Day is Sunday week … how’s your Father’s Day shopping going? If you’re like me, you’ll be looking for something a little bit different to give your Dad this Father’s Day. Which is why we’ve teamed up with Swysh – the premier provider of personalised video messages from Australia’s biggest sporting stars. So many legends who we know your Dad will love – Corey Parker, Matt Burke, Dayne Zorko.. there are hundreds to choose from. Just tell them what you want them to say to your Dad and hey presto! The perfect Father’s Day prezzie. 

And the best bit? Part of the proceeds from every Swysh video goes to charities like the Starlight Children’s Foundation and Variety. Check them out at – that’s swysh s-w-y-s-h. There’s still time to get it delivered before Father’s Day – but be quick.There’s a link to their website in today’s episode notes.




This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. In which country have scientists found the fossil of four-legged whale dinosaur?
  2. Name one of the two teams in this weekend’s Super Netball grand final?
  3. What animals like to knead a surface before they lie down to sleep?




It’s August 27, it’s World Rock Paper Scissors Day …. Find a friend and have a game of it today … It’s also Daffodil Day .. a fundraising day to help people with cancer … if you see a daffodil for sale today, buy it and help scientists find a cure. 

It’s also a Friday .. and that means an extra long birthday shout out segment … so let’s crank up the ol’ birthday reggae tune for the second time this week …

Happy birthday to Lachie from Davidson, Beth from Albany Hills, Isabella from Putney, Zoe from Abbotsford, Nathaniel from Bradbury, Kaeley from Hornsby, Erin from Highton, Carys from Ivanhoe, Murray from Melbourne

And not forgetting all of those Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday over the coming weekend… James, Paige and Rihanna from Shoal Bay, Elkan from Thurgoona, Tiana from Five Dock, Cooper from Glenbrook, Peter from Kempsey, Chloe from Caulfield, Liv from Mountain Creek, Josh from Darlington, Alicia from Albany Hills, Austin from Madeley, Ethan from Ashmont, Saphira from Campbelltown, Cecilia from Randwick, Cooper from Paddington, Harley from Glen Innes, Aiden and Maharlia from Romaine Park and Aashna and Harry from Craigburn. 

Plus!!  … Because our friends in Victoria, Canberra and NSW are in lockdown – we’re sending out Home Learning Herograms …  

Lucy in Hunters Hill wants to send a special shout out to her best friend, Toby – she says she can’t wait to be back at school with you when

lockdown ends.  Class 4T at Cherrybrook Public School send a herogram to their teacher Mr Wurth who is making a big effort with online learning. 

Ari sends a herogram to Mr Ferrington from Radford College Canberra and Logan sends a herogram to Mrs King and Grade1K at Mossvale Public School. Another shout out goes to Mrs McMahon from 5/6 BM at Ellison Public School in Springwood who is celebrating a special birthday this weekend.  And one more herogram to Mr Wright at Balgownie Public School, from Jacob –  who thinks he’s a pretty awesome teacher!


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Egypt
  2. Giants and Swifts
  3. Cats