Besides gift carbon-based, warm-blooded, possessing fur and secreting milk… most mammals have actually 7 cervical vertebrae. That’s right, v the exception of sloths and manatees, from every giraffe come every mouse… we all have 7 cervical vertebrae. Most mammals who build a different variety of neck vertebrae usually result in stillbirth, because of a crushed/ extended spinal cord and altered blood vessels supplying the brain.Birds, reptiles, and also amphibians have actually a varying variety of vertebrae in their necks.

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The evolution, or epigenesis, that the elongated giraffe neck, is interesting. Obviously over there is advantage in the capability to outcompete shorter-neck herbivores for high hanging vegetation. Among giraffes themselves, a much longer neck favors the male’s prominence in fighting because that mating. A newer theory even argues that a giraffe’s neck may assist them manage their human body temperature in hot African climates by increasing their body surface area to allow heat come escape. They also are a “cylindrical animal”, so they deserve to turn their “flat” sides far from the direct equator sunshine to reduce the lot of warmth on your skin.

But how did the giraffe build the lengthy neck? The prior theory that giraffes “grew” come have large necks through “stretching” in the direction of branches on tree is Darwinian yet incorrect. Ancestral giraffes most likely started through a longer neck than other mammals, and this most likely predated giraffes completely.

However, it ongoing to change size through various Giraffidae subspecies, leading to the afri okapi and giraffe we understand today.

The okapi (short-necked) forked in a various direction on the family members tree around 5 million years back from the Giraffa camelopardalis (long-necked afri giraffe caged in the conventional American zoo). The C4-C6 vertebrae are relatively similar in length between all giraffe species. It appears it to be the C2, C3, C7 and also T1 bones where the juicy phylogenesis occurred.

The an initial step was in reality an elongated skull. Next, the C2 and also C3 vertebral bodies became slender around 7 million years ago. After this, the spinous processes became high, thick, and vertically inclined around 1 million years ago. The giraffe C7 then elongated and incorporated a unique blood courage (vertebral artery) that provides the brain, however enters higher in the C6 bone in humans and also other mammals. Lastly, the T1 of a giraffe ended up being “cervicalized”, where T1 is usually more a component of the thoracic spine in various other mammals. (This allude actually inserts part debate regarding whether giraffes have actually an extra vertebra…)

The combination of these bony changes enables the 7 cervical vertebrae in giraffes to be as long as the whole human body.

At some suggest giraffes likewise developed your elongated legs along a parallel evolutionary track.

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What’s one more common anatomic feature between humans and giraffes? us both have 32 teeth, return giraffes have no top front teeth. Ns guess that provides them much more evolutionarily regarded those native Kentucky and West Virginia? (Just kidding)

Check the end the gallery listed below for some an ext pictures!



Author:Dr. Adam Smith

Adam P. Smith, MD, FAANS is a plank certified neurosurgeon and Rocky Mountain mind & Spine academy is his service providing neurosurgical info to the community. The is cursed to the health of the patient he treats. Dr. Smith uses minimally invasive surgical philosophies for the brain and spine, and uses the many up-to-date neuroimaging, operation navigation, robotic and also artificial knowledge modalities.