A Conversation for The Giraffe

A449480 The Giraffe

Post 1

The Unmentionable Marauding Pillowcase

http://www.h2g2.com/A449480

This is my entry on giraffes. What do you think? Please tell me if there is anything you'd like to know that I left out, or a mistake, or if you have suggestions about the style or the layout or anything else.

Thanks!


A449480 The Giraffe

Post 2

Haze: Plan C seems to be working

Left out? Left out? Not blood likely... smiley - smiley

The content is great. Really, really good. All I can do is offer suggestions about layout, etc. And I can't offer much of those. Maybe it needs breaking up a bit. You could perhaps lump all the scientific and biological text together under one heading, then behavioural aspects, then habitat, etc. Maybe even whack in a few blockquotes here or there. I don't think the subs like them, but I do smiley - winkeye

Good one.

Cheers

Haze


A449480 The Giraffe

Post 3

LL Waz

I don't know enough about Giraffes to say whether anything is left out! On layout tho' it would help the reader to break it up a bit as Haze says. It's worth doing because it's a good entry.and I'm not saying that just because I've always been a big fan of giraffes smiley - smiley.

One thing I've wondered is whether they are at all migratory and whether they have any predators?
Wz


A449480 The Giraffe

Post 4

Salamander the Mugwump

That's a really interesting entry. I enjoyed it very much. I did notice you spelt gallop with only one "l" (a galop is a lively 19th century dance, according to my dictionary (I was making sure it wasn't an American spelling)).

There was an incident some years ago at a British zoo (it may have been London zoo) where the giraffe died after assuming that rather awkward position to drink. It was unable to straighten itself out again. They said on the news at the time that it wasn't an uncommon problem for some older or weaker giraffes.


A449480 The Giraffe

Post 5

The Unmentionable Marauding Pillowcase

Thanks for the suggestions, guys! I've updated the entry. I put in sub-headings, I included info about natural predators and territories, and I corrected the spelling mistake.

Actually, "galop" is the Afrikaans (which happens to be my first language) spelling of the word and I was unaware that the English is different.

About the giraffe who died from going down to drink: I didn't know about it, but it makes sense. If you weren't trained for it and went down into an full split maybe you too would be unable to get up, and perhaps suffer some serious damage in the process. If that happened in the wild the giraffe would probably die from stress and shock and soon be consumed by hyenas.


A449480 The Giraffe

Post 6

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

Well done! This is a very interesting read.

As has been mentioned already, if this Entry has a weakness it is balance. I'm not sure how I would address this, but the official style favours the use of to separate distinct sections. Titles should be as brief as possible. Perhaps you could use subheaders within key sections such as, 'Description', 'distribution', and so on. Incidently, another style point is the favoured use of single quotes ( ' ) over double quotes ( " ).smiley - smiley

JTG


A449480 The Giraffe

Post 7

LL Waz

It is much easier to take in now - does much more justice to what you have written. I've been trying to work out what JTG means. I can see that a section heading which covered name, description and classification for instance, would be good but I can't think what it would be!
Thankyou for the answers on migration and predators.
Wz.


A449480 The Giraffe

Post 8

HappyDude

Nice article Pillow

(Note for anybody else: I know pillow from other forums so i'll not be sticking my ore in any further here).


A449480 The Giraffe

Post 9

Crescent

Suberb Entry smiley - smiley I liked this one, and it should breeze through the Peer Review process with no worries smiley - smiley I would like to see a bit more on the physiological adaptions that it has, you mentioned the valves in the neck to stop blood flow reversing, but I think (due to the high blood pressure needed to pump blood to the brain) that the skin in the ankles is extra thick and tight to stop swelling. And I have heard that the horns are rounded off because spikey ones attract lightning more, which is bad when your head is 20 ft above the ground, and you are the tallest thing on a flat plain smiley - smiley Of course that last titbit may be a load of nonsense, but it has a hint of logic to it smiley - smiley Well, I hope this helps, until later....
BCNU - Crescent


A449480 The Giraffe

Post 10

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

I seem to have been implanted with the idea that the biggest individual cells to be found on our planet reside in the necks of Giraffes. The nerve cells are enormously long, apparently, in comparison to other individual cells, at least... Unless, like so much else that I've learned and come to believe in, that happens to be utter nonsense.smiley - winkeye

JTG,


A449480 The Giraffe

Post 11

Gnomon [194]

I think this article should address the question "Why do giraffes have long necks?". Maybe the answer is in there, but if so, it is hidden deeply.

The answer to the question is in fact "so that they can reach the ground with their mouths to drink water. Although the long necks serve a number of useful purposes such as eating leaves high up and fighting with other long necked creatures, the primary purpose of the long neck is to allow the giraffe to have enormously long legs, so that it is virtually unmatched for speed.

Another thing that might be worth a mention is the fact that when a baby giraffe is born, it is dropped onto the ground from a height of about 6 feet up, since the mother does not lie or squat down. The baby's first impression of the world is to be struck by it sharply. Perhaps this explains the slightly hurt look on all giraffes' faces.


A449480 The Giraffe

Post 12

Gnomon [194]

The biggest single cell on the planet is generally reckoned to be the ostrich egg. But the giraffe's neck nerve cells might be the longest.


A449480 The Giraffe

Post 13

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

I sit corrected... and slightly contorted.

JTG


A449480 The Giraffe

Post 14

The Unmentionable Marauding Pillowcase

Gnomon, pay more attention! I DID say that the baby giraffe drops six feet when its born - it's right in there, I didn't put it in now, it was there already!

And also you must kick whoever told you about giraffes being so fast. I said that their top speed is 40 mph and that might be a stretch as some books that I consulted say it's less. Observing giraffes running, it looks as if they move in slow motion. Graceful, nice to watch, and indeed much faster than humans can run, but not a match for the really fast things. These include the cheetah and the gazelles that form its main prey. Cheetahs and gazelles can both reach 60 or even 70 mph over short distances, and they have MUCH shorter legs than giraffes. Giraffes don't need speed, because they have size. Their defence against predators, as I said, is to kick with the feet, and that works extremely well in most cases. Although giraffes are sometimes caught by lions, they are not caught as often as wildebeests and zebra are - both animals faster than giraffes. Lions catch their prey by ambush and very rapid surprise attacks.

And the reason why giraffes have long necks? Without going into a detailed discussion about evolution, the answer indeed is that it helps them eat leaves high up in trees. In the African bush there are creatures that feed at many different levels. Every kind of browser has its "niche". By diversifying into many different niches, herbivores avoid competition. Giraffes can eat higher up than anything else, even elephants, and so they have this special niche all to themselves. Their long necks don't make it easier for them to lower their heads to the ground - quite the contrary. They have difficulty drinking not due to the length of their legs, but due to the position of the hinge of their necks. Because it is situated far to the rear, the giraffe cannot lower its neck much below the horizontal before it squeezes up against its chest. The reason that the hinge of their necks is situated far to the rear is to maximise the leverage of the muscles in lifting and lowering the neck. If the neck wasn't so long, the muscles wouldn't need to exert so much leverage, the hinge could have been situated farther forward, and the head could have been lowered more easily.

I will try to put in a bit more about giraffes' physiological adaptations. I'll have to do a bit of extra reading for that. Gnomon did get one thing right - technically speaking ostrich eggs are single cells, and they are bigger than the nerve cells of giraffes. About length, I'm not sure, maybe whales have longer nerves, but I do think that some of the water-conducting vessels in tall trees (also single cells) might be longer still.

Anyways, thanks again for all the additional suggestions.


A449480 The Giraffe

Post 15

raspberria

smiley - smiley WOW Unmentionable, that is one girraffy page!
Well done it's exremely informative.


A449480 The Giraffe

Post 16

HappyDude

Thanks for your recommendation. You'll be glad to know that we think this entry is great, and it has now gone into the Editorial Process for future inclusion in the Edited Guide. When it does get into the Edited Guide, we will email to let you know, but please bear in mind it can take a while for entries to go through the sub-editing system.

Pillow this is an excellent artical and well worthy of inclusion in my humble opinion :HappyDude (Scout).


A449480 The Giraffe

Post 17

Mark Moxon

Editorial Note: This thread has been moved out of the Peer Review forum because this entry has now been recommended for the Edited Guide.


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