How Chilis Got Spicy (and Why We Love the Burn)

7 apr. 2021
480 475 Weergaven

Today, chilis are the most widely cultivated spice crop in the world - grown everywhere from their native home in the Americas to Europe, Africa, and Asia. But how and why did chilis evolve this weird, fiery trick in the first place? And why did we learn to love that spicy burn?
Big thanks to Julio Lacerda (​​) for the excellent Capsicum domestication illustration!
Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios:
Super special thanks to the following Patreon patrons for helping make Eons possible:
Hideyo Kusano, Dennis McCullough, Andria Chizen, Freddie & Brooks, Florian Heinze, WilCatRhClPPh33, Mark Talbott-Williams, Elizabeth Baker, Jake Myers, The Dec of Cards, Eddy, Angel Alchin, Julie Cohen, Sarah Ford,, simon read, Sean C. Kennedy, Eric Roberto Rodriguez, Hillary Ryde-Collins, Frida, Matthew Donnelly, Yu Mei, Dan Ritter, faxo, Jayme Coyle, Gary Walker, GrowingViolet, Stephanie Tan, Laura Sanborn, Minyuan Li, Ben Cooper, Leonid, Robert Noah, Matt Parker, Heathe Kyle Yeakley, Jerrit Erickson, Anton Bryl, MissyElliottSmith, Zachary Spencer, Stefan Weber, Andrey, Ilya Murashov, Merri Snaidman, Gabriel Cortez, Marcus Lejon, Robert Arévalo, Todd Dittman, Betsy Radley, Anthony Callaghan, Philip Slingerland, John Vanek, Eric Vonk, Henrik Peteri, Jon Monteiro, James Bording, Miles Chaston, Michael McClellan, Jeff Graham, Daisuke Goto, Gregory Kintz, Chandler Bass, Tsee Lee, Robert Hill
If you'd like to support the channel, head over to and pledge for some cool rewards!
Want to follow Eons elsewhere on the internet?
Facebook -
Twitter -
Instagram -

  • Chili evolution: "So get this, right... We're gonna make ourselves painful for mammals to eat us, but see those weirdo apes over there... Those crazy guys are gonna make us stars!"

    ShadowhengeShadowhenge2 uur geleden
  • Please, guys, it's not "The Americas". The continent is called America, it's one continent, not 2 or 3. It comprises 35 sovereign countries and features 3 "sections" (if we could call them like that): North, Central and South.

    Luis GutiérrezLuis Gutiérrez5 uur geleden
  • Anyone else shudder when she refers to the "fruit" of a chilli pepper? Am I the only one who pictures chilli peppers hidden in a fruit salad?

    Maxwell ZsofkaMaxwell Zsofka7 uur geleden
  • Speak for yourself. I bloody hate the burn. Why anyone wants to be in pain while they eat is beyond me 😅

    KIIINGST0NKIIINGST0N11 uur geleden
  • Geographically their distribution coincides in particular with the Ring of Fire.

    Robert PearsonRobert Pearson16 uur geleden
  • I remember my first real curry. I had to drink 6 cans of beer (more than twice as strong as American beer). I absolutely loved it. I eat curry all the time.

    Francis Srečko FabianFrancis Srečko Fabian17 uur geleden
  • They did Hank so dirty with these clips bro🤣

    Spiritbound2346Spiritbound2346Dag geleden
  • NEXT ON EONS: Stone Age Stoners; The Prehistoric Origins of Weed and How Woolly Mamoths inspired the first dreadlocks!🤡

    Raymond AbellaRaymond AbellaDag geleden
  • 'plant'. not 'ply-ant'.

    Mustapha LeekMustapha LeekDag geleden
  • It’s pronounced “kap-sei-sn”

    Cannabis Cultivation TVCannabis Cultivation TVDag geleden
  • Chilli: *Task failed successfully*

    Sean HeanSean HeanDag geleden
  • "We're the only mammal not scared of the burning sensation" My dog who kept locking chili oil off forniture when we tried to use it to dissuade her from chewing it when she was a puppy: I'm going to end this woman's whole career

    iafozzaciafozzacDag geleden
  • y'all should make a video on bees.. 👀

    Daniel PereiraDaniel Pereira2 dagen geleden
  • Video on spice and haven't mentioned india !!

    50 Mrunal Jadav50 Mrunal Jadav2 dagen geleden
    • Chili peppers didn’t come from India...

      j rj r2 dagen geleden
  • I've seen many goats completely destroy chili/pepper plants with seemingly zero negative impact on the goats.

    ImUrOBGYNImUrOBGYN2 dagen geleden
  • Fun fact: the hot peppers Korean food is known for are *not* native to Korea. They're basically jalapeños.

    Justin ShimJustin Shim2 dagen geleden
  • Basically, Chilis brings out the masochist in us.

    Jocose SonataJocose Sonata3 dagen geleden
    • Yeeee

      Kris toffKris toff3 dagen geleden
  • So we are all masochist by default huh?

    Δnti EntropyΔnti Entropy3 dagen geleden
  • This is why dumping ground chilies in your bird feeder is such a good way of keeping the chipmunks and squirrels out.

    Lerual NaejLerual Naej3 dagen geleden
  • Common guys, Brasil is the THIRD largest producer of peppers in the planet. 102.000 Tons in 2018. Why is it left off from the map?

    lotharnlotharn3 dagen geleden
  • Thankful! I don't know how to eat alot of my food without some level of spice. Yum :)

    Caroline YimCaroline Yim3 dagen geleden
  • We are masochists ...

    oOo GimmyoOo Gimmy3 dagen geleden
  • Love the fact that you acknowledged the natives of the land

    Ansari Mohd FirozAnsari Mohd Firoz3 dagen geleden
  • I've wondered about this for a while. When most animals bite into something that causes them pain, they stop eating it. But some human bit into 1 and was like "ooo, this would be good with some rice!"

    Nikki BerryNikki Berry3 dagen geleden
  • Now you made me hungry for tacos with a lot of chile.

    alonzo calvilloalonzo calvillo4 dagen geleden
  • Make a video about thylacoleo and it's insane teeth!

    Zofia JaworekZofia Jaworek4 dagen geleden
  • Interesting and spicy video 🙂🥵👍🌶

    Alex AllenAlex Allen4 dagen geleden
  • South America gave it to the world, Indians (Asians) took it the next level. Thanks Latinos!

    abc abcabc abc4 dagen geleden
    • Central America had it too

      Doom DoomyDoom Doomy3 dagen geleden
  • Wheres the link to the scishow hotsauce challenge?

    j mj m4 dagen geleden
  • Look at me... Look at me! _I_ am the seed disperser now!

    NmethyltransferaseNmethyltransferase4 dagen geleden
  • If you want to be more comfortable in the morning after, take psyllium half an hour before your meal. You're welcome!

    NmethyltransferaseNmethyltransferase4 dagen geleden
  • Definitely addicting. I started my spice journey with a Slim Jim (Mild) at around 4 years old. My love for spicy foods grew from there. From that point on, I just worked my way up the spice ladder, eventually growing my own peppers in my teen years (jalapeno, banana, cayenne, tabasco, and habanero peppers). I used to make salsa with them. Through adulthood I have enjoyed the wide range of extra hot peppers, ghost, scorpion, and so on. Great video!

    Chuck RustyChuck Rusty4 dagen geleden
  • Interesting that it works in the 🌶’s fav with me not liking the spices

    Stephanie WallaceStephanie Wallace5 dagen geleden
  • chilli peppers are fruit?

    AppNastyAppNasty5 dagen geleden
  • I must have an overproduction of those receptors, as I can't stand anything but the mildest chilli, curry, pepper, or mint.

    TooManyStevesTooManySteves5 dagen geleden
  • Interesting I never thought that it works that way

    Recklvss RockRecklvss Rock5 dagen geleden
  • Is it true that possession of three or more Carolina Reaper plants contravenes international weapons treaties?

    5610winston5610winston5 dagen geleden
  • This reminds me of Reduction in TRPV1 is a issue , it’s similar but yet not the same as how people with type 2 diabetes have issues with insulin and high levels of glucose.

    Meg BMeg B5 dagen geleden
  • Addicting? PBS, you're better than this

    StormSoughtStormSought5 dagen geleden
  • Awesome! Love my hot stuff 😍

    Jeffrey BakerJeffrey Baker5 dagen geleden
  • Pelecing enak nih 😁

  • So wait...spicy doesn’t exist?!?! It’s an illusion?

    Seth WindsorSeth Windsor6 dagen geleden
  • I keep wondering if this lady is Canadian. She puts a long e at the beginning of the word Epoch.

    44 Hawk44 Hawk6 dagen geleden
  • wow we’re really all masochists

    lanietalklanietalk6 dagen geleden
  • Chilis are grown on 100% of North America omg

    lanietalklanietalk6 dagen geleden
  • Kind of gets you high... If you eat a pepper strong enough you don't even get the pain bit, you just go straight into "chemical relief".

    Phillip ScharfPhillip Scharf6 dagen geleden
  • wat up, my fellow great ape dispersers??

    FnidnerFnidner6 dagen geleden
  • Chilis aren't the only genus that has benefited greatly from humans' eating habits. There are currently more chickens than people in the world -- pretty good for a domesticated version of the red jungle fowl. Ruminants like cows, sheep, and goats are doing well, too. When vat or 3D printed meat becomes cheaper than regular meat, the population of those meat animals will plummet. Hopefully, someone will keep at least some around so that they don't go extinct.

    Ray DrouillardRay Drouillard6 dagen geleden
  • I don't know if you guys are still looking for "good" evolution/geology jokes, but here's a treasured joke from the Pacific NW anyway: Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helen's used to be a happy couple some millennia ago. Unfortunately, Mt. Hood had an affair with the 3 Sisters and St. Helen's blew her top. Edit: grammar is hard you guys

    The DenThe Den6 dagen geleden
  • you dont explain one thing. we got stomachache when we eat too many capsaicin, do those animal got the same problem as well?

    westeN westeNwesteN westeN6 dagen geleden
  • I just love learning new things!

    MuskartsMuskarts6 dagen geleden
  • Came for the dinosaurs. Definitely staying for the real history of human civilization. 🔥💕🤘

    HailMammon MomentsHailMammon Moments6 dagen geleden
  • all nightshade plants wreck havoc on your circulatory system

    Amboula RozzoAmboula Rozzo6 dagen geleden
  • Kallie... As always, you were enlightening and extremely Charming!! It's always a joy to see you present. ....... But half this Video, all I was thinking was POOR HANK!!! 😜😂

    Carmine's RC Tips and Tricks!Carmine's RC Tips and Tricks!6 dagen geleden
  • This was surprisingly informative for such a short video, great work!

    Blueberry LaneBlueberry Lane6 dagen geleden
  • It's called HOT- the word -SPICEY- is for lite weights that don't eat them! 😁👍👍

    Jack SnavelyJack Snavely6 dagen geleden
  • 6:43 guy is dying from the heat AND STILL EATING IT. Commitment!

    Sarah FortinSarah Fortin7 dagen geleden
  • Puffer fish: has poison to avoid being eaten Chilli: has capsicum so mammals can't consume . Human: i eat all

    Ha Chi NguyenHa Chi Nguyen7 dagen geleden
  • Actually my heifer Shadow LOVES doing heat shots with me. I make my own sauce's, put it on a mushroom slice. CHOMP..

    Richard MountzRichard Mountz7 dagen geleden
  • Thanks for skipping New Mexico on ur map or even mentioning us known for green chili it’s the only place that green chili grows yes there may be different kinds of chilies but green chili is only growing in New Mexico I can even go to McDonald’s and get a green chili double cheeseburger if anybody’s been in New Mexico they know we put green chili on everything

    Vidal BacaVidal Baca7 dagen geleden
  • Humans are really weird animals. They'll eat anything, even stuff that a sensible rat would not touch.

    typograf62typograf627 dagen geleden
  • "Level of 2 neurotransmitters suddenly rise, endorphin and dopamine" Hmmm sounds like drugs. It is definitely a drug and I am addicted to it 😂😂😂

    Tuan Minh NguyenTuan Minh Nguyen7 dagen geleden
  • As a Latino I cant get enough of pique :) Chili peppers are the best! The sweet burn is awesome.

    Xavier2291Xavier22917 dagen geleden
  • this channel should not be pbs eons, it such be "epoch"

    Diname123 DeerDiname123 Deer7 dagen geleden
  • So you're telling me that we like spices because we're all secretly masochists.... yea I can see that xD

    Bubbles of the CoastBubbles of the Coast7 dagen geleden
  • 0:55 this map is not exactly accurate, as Brazilians eat loads of pepper and many people cultivate them at home. Maybe you're talking about mass agricultural production (wich we also do).

    Leonardo MilaniLeonardo Milani7 dagen geleden
  • So if the burning sensation we feel is from the body releasing chemicals to activate that receptor to make us feel that, approximately how much of pain is resulting from fire and how much is from our own bodies warning us?.

    Matthew MaxwellMatthew Maxwell7 dagen geleden
  • knowing the Amazon basin was a hub of domestication and interexchanging of vegetables, including spicies, and later on seeing most of if out of the map on the video hurt more than i thought imaginable.

    Marcelo AlmeidaMarcelo Almeida7 dagen geleden
  • 1:40 Wait, what happened there? Teleportation?

    Ruben La RochelleRuben La Rochelle7 dagen geleden
  • To the generations that dedicated their lives to raising Chili peppers, THANK YOU !

    SeaJay OceansSeaJay Oceans7 dagen geleden
  • The acknowledgement at the end there, made me very happy.

    TheSokweTheSokwe7 dagen geleden
  • Rather than the silent tribute to native people's, why don't you do an episode about archaeology and native people's lands?

    Bodhi SpearsBodhi Spears7 dagen geleden
  • Please explain me that map that shows where they grow chillys nowadays! Finland is marked red while Baltic’s grey. Some kind of nonsense. Please explain if that map has some meaning or it’s just some random colouring

    Aurelijus SipkauskasAurelijus Sipkauskas7 dagen geleden
  • Love this channel..... always hard to watch the Science and history videos whenever they have that cultist who was willing to manipulate science and information I’ll because he had a horrible case of “TDS”..... maybe Mr. Greene will change his ways

    Mike HonchoMike Honcho7 dagen geleden
  • Chili mimics the spicy defenses of insects that birds eat. Chili looks like an insect. Birds got used to eating spicy insects, and chili mimics the flavors of insects. Chili is like a lure, a lure for chickens to eat.

    Malo OtuaMalo Otua7 dagen geleden
  • I don’t understand how people can enjoy this. It’s so painful, it’s like shoving a working chainsaw in your mouth. Why would anyone want to add pain in their food?

    Galit JustMeGalit JustMe7 dagen geleden
    • I feel bad for you

      j rj r2 dagen geleden
  • Making myself an egg/cheese/habanero wrap in the morning. Wish me luck!

    Timothy SotirTimothy Sotir7 dagen geleden
  • There are no Chilis in Russia?

    Grey WindGrey Wind7 dagen geleden
  • This girl is so gosh dang cute 😍

    inverse_of_zeroinverse_of_zero7 dagen geleden
  • I am here because I too am curious as to how humans enjoy these because...well I don't.

    Sara3346Sara33468 dagen geleden
    • @j r good on them! Not really relevant to my comment though.

      Sara3346Sara3346Dag geleden
    • Billions of people from many different cultures enjoy it

      j rj r2 dagen geleden
  • Maybe also because we excrete them ASAP before we can properly digest them?

    DougallDougall8 dagen geleden
  • Stop making me hungry scishow

    legion999legion9998 dagen geleden
  • I like how this implies chiles are sentient

    gibran trejogibran trejo8 dagen geleden
  • Nope! Yes there are mammals like us that ARE afraid of that heat!!

    Richard AponteRichard Aponte8 dagen geleden
  • Why Brazil is not appearing to cultivate any peppers in your maps? I’m Brazilian and a big fan of chilli peppers and they are really widespread through our culinary and largely cultivated

    Matheus Ravel Timo BarbosaMatheus Ravel Timo Barbosa8 dagen geleden
  • İf you think about it humans are literaly physchopats, we eating basically literally worst things to eat, alcohol is literaly poison, mint supposed to kill bugs and chilie is totally a fruit evolved for torture mammals...

    Lord GrunwalderLord Grunwalder8 dagen geleden
  • Could u do a video on if are past relatives had the ability to talk

    Callum ThomasCallum Thomas8 dagen geleden
  • Watching this makes me want to eat something spicy.

    JasonJason8 dagen geleden
  • Hank!

    Fabiano Seixas FernandesFabiano Seixas Fernandes8 dagen geleden
  • Lastly, it is a scientific fact that very hot chilies can and do burn tissue in the body. So it's not just in "the mind" as the video suggests. Chemical burn is real. People may experience swelling of bodily tissues in the mouth, lips, if they touch their eyes...and also their butthole.

    Yvette Mari RoblesYvette Mari Robles8 dagen geleden
  • I don't think it was just about thrill seeking and dopamine. I know in my family chilis are considered medicine. They help keep your digestion strong, keep pathogens in check, help move blood (circulation), and strengthen the immune system. Mexicans and people all over Latin America understand and know this to be true.

    Yvette Mari RoblesYvette Mari Robles8 dagen geleden
  • In conclusion: humans are weird. Add that to the list of weird human things like fermented beverages, bread and soap

    DeathTheDolphinDeathTheDolphin8 dagen geleden
  • Ancient humans to birds : Look at me , look at me .... I'm the captain disperser now

    Abhi PrakashAbhi Prakash8 dagen geleden
  • 0:51 Russia, Y U no grow peppers? I'd think they'd like the extra heat during those insanely cold winters.

    grovermaticgrovermatic8 dagen geleden
  • No real damage?! My anus tells me otherwise

    NobodyNobody8 dagen geleden
  • 9:50 Please Marry Meeee !!!

    Ahmed ElshafeyAhmed Elshafey8 dagen geleden
  • more of her pls

    deLeon2046deLeon20468 dagen geleden
  • I'm of nordic decent, and l can't even look at one of these without pouring sweat, turning bright red and running for the fridge. No high, just pain.

    Peter RobinsonPeter Robinson8 dagen geleden
  • she is so lovely

    deLeon2046deLeon20468 dagen geleden
  • the chili is suffering from success we selectively bred it to be hotter but the purpose of the capsaicin was to ward us off lol

    Scp-079 with internet accessScp-079 with internet access8 dagen geleden