Testing the flotation dynamics and swimming abilities of giraffes by way of computational analysis
June 9, 2010 4:14 PM   Subscribe

"One of the most significant papers ever published in the annals of science appeared recently; it deals, for the first time ever, with one of the biggest scientific questions ever faced by the scientific community, and uses cutting-edge technology and awesome powers of deductive reasoning and logic to reach shocking, paradigm-shifting conclusions."
posted by brundlefly (44 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Metafilter: Does this have any implications whatsoever for anything?
posted by finite at 4:16 PM on June 9, 2010


It pains me that "Serengeti Dismount" is not a Googlewhack.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:17 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Isn't determining whether giraffes can swim a job for the Mythbusters?

Probably doesn't involve enough blowin' up stuff
posted by lukemeister at 4:36 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are their any mammals that can't swim, at least for short distances?
posted by Burhanistan at 4:38 PM on June 9, 2010


(besides some humans)
posted by Burhanistan at 4:38 PM on June 9, 2010


"Finally, this project is one of several I've been involved in that's gotten a bit of media attention; this attention means that the paper is going to be the subject of more content-free discussion on websites than is usual for peer-reviewed research."

Oh, yeah? Well, uh, your mom is the subject of more content-free discussion on websites than is usual for peer-reviewed research!
posted by lore at 4:39 PM on June 9, 2010 [11 favorites]


lukemeister: "Probably doesn't involve enough blowin' up stuff"

It does if you do it right.
posted by brundlefly at 4:40 PM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are their any mammals that can't swim, at least for short distances?

Probably not something really, really big, like a whale.
posted by DU at 4:41 PM on June 9, 2010 [16 favorites]


The subject of mammal swimming is actually steeped in mystery and conjecture. Here's a Straight Dope article on the subject from a while back.
posted by lore at 4:42 PM on June 9, 2010


Most people would probably look down on a post like this, so thanks for sticking your neck out.
posted by ColdChef at 4:43 PM on June 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


High balls for everyone!
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:47 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


> High balls for everyone!

It's in Africa so the water probably isn't very cold.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:48 PM on June 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Most people would probably look down on a post like this, so thanks for sticking your neck out.


I got it. (And I wish I had come up with it first.)
posted by Uncle Chaos at 4:51 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Making predictions about the floating and swimming abilities of giraffes is fun,

Damn. And I thought that I was a nerd.
posted by angrycat at 4:53 PM on June 9, 2010


Bad at _______, or really bad at _______?

I will be plugging all kinds of things into this.
posted by JaredSeth at 4:53 PM on June 9, 2010


I was absolutely convinced that this was going to be about the recent paper on reporting that scientists have implemented quantum teleportation across 16km of free space.
posted by koeselitz at 4:55 PM on June 9, 2010


I knew this was a false buildup, it was too earnest.
posted by Liquidwolf at 5:02 PM on June 9, 2010


Follow up question: can dogs look up?
posted by brundlefly at 5:03 PM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Soviets had us Scandinavians fooled for decades with their creative periscope painting. "No," we said, "don't worry. It's just another giraffe committing suicide."
posted by Dumsnill at 5:04 PM on June 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


It pains me that "Serengeti Dismount" is not a Googlewhack.


It is now.
posted by martin10bones at 5:04 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I expect Swimming Giraffe Denialists to be booked on at least 2 Faux News shows tonight...
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:06 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've ridden a horse across a small lake. The back legs of the horse extend as far down as they can. The rear end does not float anywhere near the surface. When the horse is swimming, essentially one is holding on to the mane and trailing behind. Just saying.
posted by Shike at 5:11 PM on June 9, 2010


What I find surprising about this paper is the uncertainty over lung volume. Inflating a giraffe's lungs [Warning - graphic dissection, viewer discretion].
posted by unliteral at 5:14 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, we don't really know enough to be sure whether these distributional limits actually have anything to do with the ability or inability of giraffes to cross water.

Then why the fuck is there an entire section devoted to it?
posted by doublehappy at 5:17 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are their any mammals that can't swim, at least for short distances?
Probably not something really, really big, like a whale.

So how do whales cruise around the ocean? Do they fire torpedos? If so, do they surface to re-arm?
posted by lukemeister at 5:19 PM on June 9, 2010


Are their any mammals that can't swim, at least for short distances?

Bats? Other bugs?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:23 PM on June 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Are their any mammals that can't swim, at least for short distances?

Bats? Other bugs?


Uhhh, bats are not bugs and bugs are not mammals.
posted by nestor_makhno at 5:32 PM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


> So how do whales cruise around the ocean? Do they fire torpedos? If so, do they surface to re-arm?

(the joke, if I may explain it, is that whales are long creatures and by dint of simple physics can not swim "short" distances because of their said length.)
posted by Burhanistan at 5:32 PM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


BATS AREN'T BUGS!!!!

(Also, who wrote "help I'm a bug" on my letter to Grandma?)
posted by DU at 5:33 PM on June 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Burhanistan,

Go ahead, spoil my dreams of whales armed to the teeth baleen!
posted by lukemeister at 5:37 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Heh. I'm sure the Navy is working on that right now.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:38 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Follow up question: can dogs look up?

Do pigs live in trees?
posted by philip-random at 5:58 PM on June 9, 2010


I hope these guys have picked out their tuxes for the Ignobel Prizes, because this seems like the sort of quality research they recognize.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 6:19 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Elephants swimming
posted by robinhoudt at 6:36 PM on June 9, 2010


What really surprised me when I first learned it was that Deer (specifically whitetails, but probably the others, too) are really good swimmers. I just figured that with their skinny legs ending in narrow hooves, that they wouldn't be able to get enough 'traction' in the water to do anything useful in the water. Being an eyewitness to one swimming (and definitely not fording, it was up to it's ears) across the upper Mississippi cured me of that notion.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:03 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I saw a baby giraffe being born once. At the top of a hill. Poor thing... all warm and snug, then squeezed out to a six-foot drop and an ignominious roll down a hill.

I laughed.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:11 PM on June 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


all mammaks can swim, at least until they're born.
posted by yesster at 8:28 PM on June 9, 2010


"mammuks" ha! is kan tipe on mise mobile
posted by yesster at 8:35 PM on June 9, 2010


mammuk, mammak, lets call the whole thing off. f'in chicklet keys
posted by yesster at 8:37 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Given the immediately obvious spin off of this work is the GIRAFFE FIRST PERSON SHOOTER, this endeavor is at least as important as that missing mass thing.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:55 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Go ahead, spoil my dreams of whales armed to the teeth baleen!

No, silly. The expression about whales is that they're armed "to the gills."
posted by The Potate at 9:33 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Swimming With Giraffes" is actually the mostly-unknown sequel to Swimming With Sharks. Not nearly as good.
posted by inigo2 at 10:30 PM on June 9, 2010


ArgentCorvid: "What really surprised me when I first learned it was that Deer (specifically whitetails, but probably the others, too) are really good swimmers."

Confirmed.
posted by brundlefly at 11:31 PM on June 9, 2010


Pigs, too.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:04 AM on June 10, 2010


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