NCBI ROFL: Predicting the buoyancy, equilibrium and potential swimming ability of giraffes by computational analysis.

By ncbi rofl | December 14, 2010 7:00 pm

3906811704_2d51d364b4“Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) are often stated to be unable to swim, and while few observations supporting this have ever been offered, we sought to test the hypothesis that giraffes exhibited a body shape or density unsuited for locomotion in water. We assessed the floating capability of giraffes by simulating their buoyancy with a three-dimensional mathematical/ computational model. A similar model of a horse (Equus caballus) was used as a control, and its floating behaviour replicates the observed orientations of immersed horses. The floating giraffe model has its neck sub-horizontal, and the animal would struggle to keep its head clear of the water surface. Using an isometrically scaled-down giraffe model with a total mass equal to that of the horse, the giraffe’s proportionally larger limbs have much higher rotational inertias than do those of horses, and their wetted surface areas are 13.5% greater relative to that of the horse, thus making rapid swimming motions more strenuous. The mean density of the giraffe model (960 gm/l) is also higher than that of the horse (930 gm/l), and closer to that causing negative buoyancy (1000 gm/l). A swimming giraffe – forced into a posture where the neck is sub-horizontal and with a thorax that is pulled downwards by the large fore limbs – would not be able to move the neck and limbs synchronously as giraffes do when moving on land, possibly further hampering the animal’s ability to move its limbs effectively underwater. We found that a full-sized, adult giraffe will become buoyant in water deeper than 2.8m. While it is not impossible for giraffes to swim, we speculate that they would perform poorly compared to other mammals and are hence likely to avoid swimming if possible.”

giraffe

Photo: flickr/Daniel Voyager

Related content:
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Heat loss in Dumbo: a theoretical approach.
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Best materials and methods ever.
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Cooperation and individuality among man-eating lions.

WTF is NCBI ROFL? Read our FAQ!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals, NCBI ROFL, WTF?
  • http://www.fashiontrendmall.com Nike SB Shoes

    Hope we can become good friends, and exchange and to help each other! Thanks!! yhm20110404Total I believe this really is one thing to think about nevertheless it may very well just be just a little little bit of base.
    This is a superb posting, I identified your weblog web page executing study google for any related topic and came to this. I couldnt uncover to substantially supplemental info and details on this write-up, so it was pleasant to find this 1. I’ll in all probability finish up currently being again once more to appear at another content articles that you’ve got yet another time. yhm20110404

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Discoblog

Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.

About ncbi rofl

NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »