Giraffes do not drown EOS Sciences

What would happen if you pushed a giraffe into a deep pool? Will the long-necked wonder sink, or simply swim laps? It seems like an irrelevant question, and maybe it is, but it’s also a question to which no one can give a definitive answer. No one has ever seen a giraffe swimming. No one has ever dared push a giraffe into a swimming pool, due to practical and ethical concerns. So we don’t know. Biologists can only guess.

Most mammals are good swimmers, but simply extending this line to giraffes is not possible. Due to their special body structure—a short body, long legs, and long neck—biologists suspect that giraffes dive like bricks. Because “supposedly” is a disappointing start to an answer, mathematicians Donald Henderson of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Canada and Darren Naish of the University of Portsmouth jumped in to help the biologists. They developed a digital version of the giraffe and threw it into a similar digital collection. Smart minds developed their computer model based on images of swimming horses and the weight, mass, lung capacity and center of gravity of a real giraffe.

Their conclusion: There is no reason to believe that giraffes will drown. Even swimming should be possible, although it may seem very clumsy. Animals do not have physical fitness. The long forelimbs pull the body downward, forcing a giraffe in a pool to keep its neck horizontal and just below the surface of the water. In order to breathe, the giraffe has to tilt its head up at an awkward angle to keep its nose above the water. Giraffes can swim in theory, but in reality few giraffes can swim a Speedo.

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Another mystery has been revealed. Cool, isn’t it? We ourselves, the world, and the universe are full of these kinds of strange questions. This book is an ode to scientists who feel the need to unravel those mysteries, no matter how crazy. Science is more than just a search for answers, it is above all: the desire, ability and courage to confront questions. To achieve this you need wonder, curiosity, creativity, a talent for observation, and sometimes you also need a loose screw.

She invented the academic field of loose bolt science: the fascinating science, a mixture of humor and thought, in which researchers devise bizarre experiments and gain insights that initially make us laugh, and later make us think. Can animals orgasm, why does your mother often call you when it rains, and why do we find ourselves and others more attractive when we drink? Your desire for answers is satisfied in Giraffes Don’t Drown.

Although great science mainly celebrates wonders and provides you with endless inspiration for counter-stories, it also often produces unexpected insights. For example, British scientists discovered that named dairy cows produced more milk than unnamed cows. A fun fact that also emphasizes the importance of animal welfare. Ranchers who give their cows names are also likely to have a closer bond with their animals, which makes them feel better, experience less stress, and produce more milk. And research that calculates how delicate ducklings swim seemingly effortlessly after their mothers is inspiring engineers to make ships use less fuel.

With Giraffes Don’t Drown, I want to encourage you to embrace curiosity, approach questions with an open mind, and above all, never be afraid to ask questions. Because it is precisely the fascinating science that reshapes our understanding of the world, the universe and ourselves from time to time.

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Giraffes don’t drown

And almost. 137 other fascinating insights from science

Publisher VBK – Hotekiet


Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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