Weird and Wonderful Giraffe Anatomy

Mon 25 Oct 2021

Let’s take a look at the truly weird and wonderful giraffe. They have 7 vertebrae in their necks, just like us—and almost all other mammals. Both male and female giraffe calves are born with ossicles (bone horns), but they only fuse to the skull after birth, which makes giving birth easier for the mother. Giraffes have some of the animal kingdom’s most impressive eye-lashes, a tongue covered with sticky antiseptic saliva to prevent infection from thorn cuts, and somehow they manage to look elegant and sedate almost all the time. One of the obvious exceptions is when males use their long necks and bony heads (complete with ossicles) as battering rams to knock a rival male off his feet. But even then, as the losing male hobbles away, they seem to recover their composure quickly and look at you as if they wouldn’t hurt a fly.

📸 Nigel Nicholls