David Thompson
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« Missing Pieces | Main | The Sky is Glowing »

August 19, 2009

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Steve

One of life's minor mysterys solved. Thanks Dave.

Karen M

In a similar vein…

http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2007/11/giraffe_vs_plane.php

sk60

It's like something out of Gary Larson's Far Side.

ECM

Somehow this has something to do with AGW.

Simen Thoresen

ECM,

I'm pretty sure the number of giraffes struck by lightening in Europe has been increasing steadily since the middle ages. I'd wager that if you plot it on a line, superimpose the rise in CO2-concentration (scaled suitably, possibly logarithmic) and squint a little, it'd be a pretty snug match.

-S

Christopher Taylor

Proof of evolution! See, the fittest animals to survive on wide open stormy plains naturally evolved through natural selection in a series of small and steady mutations until they had long, absurd necks that made them vulnerable to lightning and die horribly, providing lions with pre-baked food. All those smaller, shorter giraffe precursors we can't find a fossil record for were less vulnerable to lightning and didn't survive because they weren't fit for their environment.

Oh wait.

James S

"While it should be noted that, in the Krugersdorp case, the giraffes had been experimentally introduced into an unsuitable habitat, giraffes, cows and other artiodactyls in natural conditions elsewhere are susceptible to death by lightning and entire herds can be killed by a single strike, typically while sheltering under a tree."

http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/07/mammal_deaths_by_lightning.php

AntiCitizenOne

Over time Giraffes will evolve a highly conductive stripe down their bodies. Much like the yellow stripe that Homo-Politicus evolved.

David Gillies

Giraffes always struck me as slightly risible creatures, so the notion that they are more at risk of being struck dead by lightning than, say, wildebeest, somehow seems fitting (if sad).

But they're really just hypertrophied antelope, and the giraffe pen at the zoo smells exactly like a cow-shed. I imagine a lightning-struck antelope, if of sufficiently recent vintage, must have been a boon to Kalahari hunter-gatherers.

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