Science Questions

How do giraffes control their blod pressure with such long necks?

Sat, 21st Jul 2007

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Question

Jen, Cambridge asked:

In relation to getting blood up to your brain when exposed to high G-Forces, aren’t giraffes able to control their own upward blood pressure because their necks are so long?

Answer

All animals control their blood pressure to an extent, but giraffes have a special adaptation consisting of a series of valves in their neck to control the intense pressure that would build up when they put their head down to drink.  This anatomical adaptation controls the blood pressure otherwise they would have a massive surge of blood into their brain and experience ‘red-out’.

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