Inside Nature's Giants - Giraffe

When it comes to uniqueness in animals, giraffes really seem to stand out on a category all their own. The striking thing, though, is that their anatomy, odd as it may seem to us, is simply a modification of the same basic body plan all mammals, humans included, share. This, of course, is to be expected as a basic prediction of evolutionary theory, but it's still a remarkable thing to observe.

Today's documentary investigates the selection pressures that have driven the evolution of giraffes, as well as the anatomical and physiological solutions they have developed to cope with the stringent demands imposed by their impressive height.

If you've ever asked yourself how giraffes manage to keep their necks up on an angle without getting exhausted, how they manage to successfully circulate blood throughout their tall bodies, or what kinds of functions their patches fulfill, then you've come to the right place. You'll also learn why they are essential to space research and exploration :)

The dissection, as you will see, also reveals the redundancy of the recurrent laryngeal nerve, one of those quirks of evolutionary history that could not reasonably be explained through the assumption of intelligent design. Richard Dawkins explains (and he also reflects on this experience in his latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth).

If that's not enough for you, you might want to check out the episode on elephants.

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