Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Inside Natures Giants: Giraffe

WARNING:

The following review contains very explicit images of animal viscera and gore. If you are not comfortable with this STOP NOW. If you are scroll down for the article.

vlcsnap2009072119h41m05s2 This is the final episode of the series and deals with the not so humble Giraffe. Rather then being the possible damp squib that I suspected the episode again was informative and intelligent. The dissection took in the structure of the neck and legs answering questions that I hadn’t thought to ask. Huge issues facing the Giraffe, for example, is how to deal with the massive journey for blood to the brain and how to stop the brain from exploding when the giraffe leans down to drink.

The ligament at the rear of the neck was excellently demonstrated showing how the Giraffe has evolved to naturally hold its head up and that lowering it is by far the greater task. There was also an excellent illustration of the heart and its size to muscle ratio required to pump the blood so high. vlcsnap2009072119h41m15s108

Possibly the most effective demonstration harked back to the first dissection where the gut of the Elephant was compare to that of the Giraffe, the point was perfectly shown in the Elephants grossly inefficient and massive gut vs the Giraffes perfectly adapted energy gathering machine.

One final aspect covered was the lung capacity of the Giraffe and some supposition. As giraffes has fairly inflexible ribcages its actually technically quite difficult to explain how they get the oxygen they need to sustain heavy movement. Current opinion is the the movement itself displaces internal organs creating the suction needed to the lungs. As the Giraffe needs to take in 3 litres of air before it even reaches the lungs, the required capacity is huge.vlcsnap2009072119h42m17s214

Overall Inside natures giants has been a true revelation. Who would have expected Channel 4 to deliver such a thoughtful and intelligent documentary that in such a simple way advances knowledge for the viewer far more effectively then the hugely expensive and lavish programmes on other channels. It just goes to show that eye candy is nothing if the content simply is not thought provoking. The series certainly made me think.vlcsnap2009072119h41m56s7

Previous Inside Nature Giants articles:

Nile Crocodile, Whale and Elephant

Paul out…

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