Why do giraffes have long necks?

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  • Why do giraffes have long necks?
  • andrewh
    Member

    Serious question. Given the problems this causes with blood-pressure and suchlike wouldn’t it make sence to have a horse-type neck and much longer legs to reach the higher leaves? The bigger stride would also make them faster.
    Quiet day at work, just thinking to myself whilst I was on hold to HMRC. My colleagues weren’t terribly helpful on the subject.

    Premier Icon dangeourbrain
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    Because St. Anthony might find long legged horses too tempting.

    Premier Icon senor j
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    Very nosey.

    Premier Icon lister
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    I guess the pre-giraffe animals with longish necks were more attractive* to other pre-giraffes than the ones with longish legs.

    *in a strictly biological and mating success sort of way

    Premier Icon dangeourbrain
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    Very nosey

    That’s elephants

    Or tapir

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
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    wouldn’t it make sence to have a horse-type neck and much longer legs to reach the higher leaves?

    they need to drink as well as eat so with long legs its as important to be able to reach down as up

    But in that ‘strictly biological and mating success sort of way’ they fight for a mate by swinging their heads around like clubs too

    …because Noddy wouldn’t pay the ransom

    mattyfez
    Member

    If the body was elevated on such spindly legs they would have a very high center of gravity, like a 29er mtb.

    Easily toppled by much smaller predators riding 26ers.

    So natural selection made the neck longer and the legs shorter.

    Because their feet smell.

    mattyfez
    Member

    Or maybe they just skip leg day at the gym?

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
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    They have long legs as it stands – reckon doubling them in length wouldn’t be a goer for such a large animal, they’d prob be too weak, or would need so much supporting muscle that they could hardly move.

    Premier Icon kayak23
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    The real question is why haven’t trees got short trunks.

    Premier Icon dangeourbrain
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    The real question is why haven’t trees got short trunks

    Because you can only fit one budgie on those

    Premier Icon TomB
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    According to my childhood joke book, the punchline is supposed to be…….

    Because their heads are so far from their bodies!

    Badoom-tish.

    Premier Icon kayak23
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    According to my childhood joke book, the punchline is supposed to be…….

    Because their heads are so far from their bodies!

    Well no, actually that does make sense then.

    CountZero
    Member

    The long neck allows giraffes to reach higher branches out of the reach of other, shorter grazing animals, also the case with dinosaurs, only they’re much more extreme.

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
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    The long neck allows giraffes to reach higher branches out of the reach of other, shorter grazing animals

    And the long legs are so their feet can reach the ground

    nofx
    Member

    Their farts stink.

    hols2
    Member

    They have to be able to reach up high to forage in trees and also to lower their heads to drink. That means that the blood pressure changes from raising and lowering their heads won’t be affected by the proportion of neck to leg length. The best compromise is probably to have the heart half way between the head and feet, so having longer legs and shorter neck wouldn’t resolve the blood pressure problems.

    Premier Icon athy62
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    Because their heads are a long way from their bodies!

    shermer75
    Member

    Because St. Anthony might find long legged horses too tempting.

    Some one explain this for me! 🙂

    globalti
    Member

    Darwinism innit – longer bones are more prone to breaking because of the greater leverages. It’s why extremely tall people are generally not in good skeletal health.

    Premier Icon ampthill
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    If you’ve watched a Giraffe drink it’s obvious that the neck leg length ratio is such that drinking is only just possible

    deadkenny
    Member

    According to my childhood joke book, the punchline is supposed to be…….

    Because their heads are so far from their bodies!

    Badoom-tish.

    You’re having a giraffe.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    Lots of theories. One is the well known one for reaching leaves at higher branches. Another is all about sexual selection, the fights between males are mostly won by the male with a bigger neck. Another is that the long neck may have to do with regulation of body temperature.

    the00
    Member

    That fight video is hilarious! Sure a flailing giraffe head does look like an intimidating weapon, but they’re not the best shot, and their balance isn’t great.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    They evolved, they weren’t designed. Their legs probably evolved as long as they could get whilst still being strong enough and not too heavy and still be able to move them with any kind of strength. But the evolutionary pressure to reach high up leaves still existed, so long necks were also considered a benefit.

    But really the gene mutation that made their legs long probably affected their entire body and made all their bones long, also their neck. Most really tall humans have long legs, long arms and long torsos after all.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
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    If you do twitter then https://twitter.com/search?q=%23CrowboroughGiraffes is worth a browse and trending *right now*

    Never mind that.

    Why do monkeys have red testicles?
    So they can hide in cherry trees.

    What’s the loudest noise in nature?
    Giraffes eating cherries.

    Premier Icon dangeourbrain
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    Some one explain this for me!

    It’s a famous dali painting, “the temptation of St Anthony”

    Premier Icon IdleJon
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    Wasn’t Ford Prefect directly involved?

    Premier Icon wwaswas
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    So was he made patron saint of horses before or after he was tempted by one?

    The real question is why haven’t trees got short trunks

    Because they’d come second to elephants.

    Premier Icon Beagleboy
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    “Africa was very interesting,” said Ford, “I behaved very oddly there.”…”I took up being cruel to animals,” he said airily. “But only,” he added, “as a hobby.”

    “Oh yes,” said Arthur, warily.

    “Yes,” Ford assured him. “I won’t disturb you with the details because they would-”

    “What?”

    “Disturb you. But you may be interested to know that I am singlehandedly responsible for the evolved shape of the animal you came to know in later centuries as a giraffe.”

    Life, the Universe and Everything. Douglas Adams, 1982

    Premier Icon dangeourbrain
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    So was he made patron saint of horses before or after he was tempted by one?

    I think being tempted is part of being ordained in the Catholic Church not canonised.

    Premier Icon welshfarmer
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    [strong]GlennQuagmire[/strong] wrote:

    Because their feet smell.

    How do they know which leaves are tasty if their olfactory organs are at ground level?

    Premier Icon 77ric
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    Have you ever smelled a giraffe!

    The long neck gets the nose as far away from the bulk of the stench as feasible. Longer legs just raise the the stink up closer to the nose.

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