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How Drinking Giraffes Avoid a Head Rush


When you’re this tall, getting a drink of water can be challenging. With their high blood pressure, one would think giraffes should get a head rush when they bend down to drink from a watering hole. Luckily, their anatomy is tailored to combat this very issue.


(upbeat music) (birds chirping) - [Narrator] But when beaten by the heat, giraffes must join their fellow beasts at the watering hole.

Being tall, it's tricky.

In this pose, the pressure is quite literally on.

Pumping blood all the way up to its head takes a powerful heart.

It beats up to 170 times a minute.

That's twice as fast as ours.

(gentle music) This huge blood pressure, the highest of any mammal, should give a drinking giraffe a bad head rush, but instead, a clever system of valves regulates blood flow to the brain.

The giraffe controls blood pressure so well that NASA has taken inspiration from these humble Goliaths for the design of its spacesuits.

It seems this big beast can even teach us a thing or two.


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