Neck stroke

June 10, 2010

A question that may until now have taxed only safari tourists has finally been solved: giraffes can swim, at least in theory. Darren Naish, a vertebrate palaeontologist at the University of Portsmouth, worked with a colleague in Canada to create a mathematical model that predicted whether the lofty beasts would survive in water. The study featuring the "digital giraffe", published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, found a full-sized adult giraffe would become buoyant in 2.8m of water, although its unusual shape meant it would float in a "peculiar manner" and was likely to be a poor swimmer.

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