"Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?"
On previous "Creation Moments" we have talked about some of the wonderful designs that help make the giraffe possible. The giraffe has a strong heart to pump blood all the way up to its head and strong arteries to withstand the high blood pressure needed to carry the blood to its head. We have also talked about the giraffe's so called "wonder net," which is a network of blood vessels that helps to stabilize the blood pressure in the giraffe's head even when it raises and lowers its head.
But modern science continues to uncover engineering wonders that enable the giraffe to keep blood flowing evenly to its brain and keep blood from pooling in its legs. Researchers have discovered that giraffes, unlike human beings, have a valve in the jugular vein. But these valves work in the wrong direction to help blood stay in the head. Instead, they close when a giraffe lowers its head, preventing used blood from backing up into the brain.
And how does a giraffe, which stays on its feet all day, keep blood from pooling in its legs? Scientists have found that the skin on a giraffe's legs is very tight fitting. When a giraffe walks, its muscle movement within that tight skin actually helps pump used blood out of the legs.
If life owed its existence to chance and genetic mistakes, we wouldn't have any giraffes today. But what a wonder of God's design these stately creatures are!
Notes: Pedley, T.J. 1987. "How giraffes prevent oedema." Nature, 329:3, Sept., p. 13.
Photo: Courtesy of Steve Garvie. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
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