Friday, November 12, 2010

Science: Can Giraffes Swim?

Giraffes are rather popular. People like giraffes. I don't know if giraffes like people that much. In any case that isn't the point of this post. This post isn't about research on whether giraffes like people. This post is about research to decide whether or not giraffes can swim.

So what is the point of this post?

Well I could talk about the ability of computer models to help explain and predict phenomena that haven't yet been observed. I could talk about how seemingly random and inexplicable research may yet end up with practical outcomes (though I think I'd be stretching the point). I could talk about the wonderfully absurd research done by scientists with too much spare time on their hands. I could talk about how it doesn't matter if giraffes can swim if they don't want to, don't like to, or never learned how to swim at summer camp when they were growing up.

Instead I'll leave the explanation of the research, details into how it was done, and some humourous conclusions and insights to one of the authors of the paper. Darren Naish discusses his peer-reviewed scientific paper in Testing the flotation dynamics and swimming abilities of giraffes by way of computational analysis.

I will however point out that Darren Naish is affiliated with the University of Portsmouth in the UK and his co-author Don Henderson works at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller Alberta. Neither institution nor their surrounding locals have many giraffes to worry about. Let alone swimming giraffes. Still... should the Bow River flood in the nearby city of Calgary the zookeepers at The Calgary Zoo will know who to contact in order to find out if either of the two species of giraffe living at the zoo on St. George's island will need to be rescued by boat.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Valuable info. Lucky me I found your site by accident, I bookmarked it.