Rus Articles Journal

Why to a giraffe long neck?

Exist historical evidences that in those days when the Sahara was still covered with a vegetable carpet and it is inhabited by all present inhabitants of the savanna, ancient Egyptians caught in it wild giraffes and brought to the cities.

For the first time to ancient Rome the giraffe was brought by Julius Caesar in the 46th year B.C. Residents of Rome called this nice creation kamelopardy, having mistakenly assumed that it is a hybrid of a camel (“camelus“) with a leopard (“pardus“). The word “giraffe“ - the Arab origin, in Russian throughout centuries used both in man`s, and in a feminine gender. In the modern language norm the use of this word only in a masculine gender is considered.

The giraffe was presented to modern Europe only in a century before last when in 1826 vice-the king of Egypt Pasha Mehmet presented to kings of France and Great Britain on one young giraffe.

The body of a giraffe possesses a surprising anatomic structure. A trunk its short and dense, a back sloping, very little head with surprisingly big light eyes, big soft and extremely mobile ears and two strange outgrowths on a forehead. These outgrowths have the name “ossikona“, or “horns“. The newborn giraffe already has ossikona. They are formed in an embryonic stage separately from frontal bones.

But the giraffe possesses extremely long neck and legs at the expense of what he is the longest and relative the shortest mammal on the planet. Thus, his head appears at the height about 5 - 6 meters over the earth whereas height of a body does not exceed 4 meters.

As the head of it the miracle - an animal appears at the height of two meters over the level of his heart, the last should drive extraordinary high column of blood. Not without reason thickness of a wall of a carotid of a giraffe makes 12 millimeters that allows it to sustain the enormous arterial pressure which at a giraffe is twice more, than at the person.

There can be a wrong opinion that such length of a neck is provided at the expense of a huge number of vertebras, however it at all not so. At all mammals, including at the person, cervical vertebras seven, but they the different size. So, at small rodents vertebras tiny, and at a giraffe - very big.

So why to a giraffe such long neck? The answer is very simple - with its help it breaks leaves and escapes from tops of trees. In the African savannas at it there are a lot of herbivorous neighbors - antelopes, zebras and many others. And each of them should have dinner on “floor“. It is inconvenient to pinch an undersized grass to a giraffe, but he without effort reaches the tops of trees, and at such height of competitors at him is not present.

It is known that many herbivorous use language for grab of food, but none of them do it as masterly as a giraffe. Its language very long and flexible, reaches in length about a half a meter. Slowly it is also lazy a giraffe breaks the most top young escapes which are his most favourite delicacy from tops of mimosas. At the same time his lips do not suffer from mimosa thorns, as well as a lip of a camel from prickles. The tip of his muzzle is covered with special hairs - vibrissa which feel approach of thorns.

The giraffe seldom nibbles a steppe grass, preferring only juicy escapes which are rich with moisture. Receiving all necessary liquid from food, giraffes can be enough - far from water sources. However in a droughty season they move off in searches of a reservoir.

To drink waters, the giraffe should accept fancy poses. Sometimes it widely moves apart forward legs and inclines forward part of a trunk and a neck forward, sometimes legs should be turned in or to expose one of them forward, and another back.

Giraffes in not less interesting pose sleep. Laying down at first on a breast, during a dream they turn over sideways, draw in one or both forward legs to a stomach, and throw back a neck back and put the head on a back hip. The dream of giraffes is very sensitive and short. They can till some days does without dream and just it being necessary to have a rest.

Giraffe speed in gallop can reach 56 kilometers per hour, at the same time its movements seem smooth, as at slow-motion shot. The neck serves as the balance weight and operates a rhythm of its movements. At slow speed the giraffe can move only an amble, only in this case his long legs do not touch each other.

Unfortunately, the few from the giraffes brought to our latitudes long take out an imprisonment. Many of them quickly perish from a specific disease of bones which received the name “illness of giraffes“. Most likely, it is caused by a lack of the movement and improper food. However recently the situation improved a little that, probably, is connected with more competent approach to creation of conditions for keeping of these animals.