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Giraffe Anatomy 101


Weighing up to two tons, the giraffe is a colossal animal and unlike any other. Dr. Julian Fennessy walks us through the giraffe’s unique anatomy by examining the bones of a enormous male specimen.


JULIAN: So you can see this old bull he's huge.

He probably died of natural causes.

There's no claw marks on him like from a lion or anything.

Huge ossicones.

The massive bumps on a giraffe's head aren't horns, or antlers, they're different, and they're called ossicones.

JULIAN: they actually are like cartilage like in your ear and when they're born they're flat, and then they fold out and they become bone and fuse to the skull.

The males' ossicones are much larger, and grow increasingly massive over their lives.

JULIAN: There's a couple of vertebrae here of the giraffe, but there's only seven vertebrae in the neck just like all humans and all other mammals.

This is the lower leg bone, they kick out at lions and other predators, they just knock em for six, they're dead.

It's about the same size as my daughter.


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