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← Inside Nature's Giants: The Giraffe

Inside Nature's Giants: The Giraffe - Comments

ods15's Avatar Comment 1 by ods15

Oh.. Looks explicit...

Make sure you check the rest of the videos of that user, there are 4 episodes I see of this series, and a whole bunch of other documentaries!

Sat, 12 Sep 2009 11:40:00 UTC | #396249

ANTIcarrot's Avatar Comment 2 by ANTIcarrot

Though possibly interesting, I fear this harks back to a very victorian idea:

"Let's study nature by killing as much of it as possible."

I'd want to know exactly where these bodies come from. I hope I'm not alone here in disapproving of killing animals for entertainment; or edutainment.

Sat, 12 Sep 2009 11:59:00 UTC | #396253

AllanW's Avatar Comment 3 by AllanW

Put your ruffled feathers down, ANTIcarrot, the provenance of each of the animals is clearly explained at the start of each film. They are zoo animals that have died of various causes and the films are made to take advantage of the autopsy processes that would be conducted to ascertain the causes of death.

Sat, 12 Sep 2009 12:04:00 UTC | #396256

Ilovelucy's Avatar Comment 4 by Ilovelucy

[joyless pedantry] The show was on Channel 4 not BBC 4[/joyless pedantry]

This series was one of the best science documentaries in years. Once you get over the squeamish aspect, not much of a problem for me, the anatomies of these animals and the passion of those explaining it are spellbinding. The Giraffe episode is particularly special because of Dawkins' obvious glee at finally getting to see a Giraffe's laryngeal nerve for real.

Sat, 12 Sep 2009 12:06:00 UTC | #396258

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 5 by Jos Gibbons

Episode 1 - an elephant that had been suffering with leg pain was euthanised on zookeepers' judgement. The subsequent autopsy vindicated their concerns when it uncovered one of the leg joints had a whole in its cartilage; the pain must have been excruciating.

Episode 2 - a beached whale, having recently died, will be a public health issue if not removed fast. Its probable cause of death was also uncovered during the autopsy/removal.

Episodes 3/4 - crocodiles/giraffes who died of natural causes are used. Once again, the causes of death are found.

Sat, 12 Sep 2009 12:16:00 UTC | #396261

bluebird's Avatar Comment 6 by bluebird

Meanwhile, back at the BBCR4, 'Life Stories':

I so enjoy these; only 5 more left *sniff*.

Sat, 12 Sep 2009 12:41:00 UTC | #396273

j.mills's Avatar Comment 7 by j.mills

I'm with you, bluebird, Attenborough's 'Life Stories' programmes are really engaging.

OT, the giraffe episode was the most interesting episode of a really interesting series; but it's a close call.

Sat, 12 Sep 2009 12:45:00 UTC | #396276

Bribase's Avatar Comment 8 by Bribase

giraffes are incredible aren't they? The great thing about this episode is that the anatomy of them is so close to being an example of something exquisitely 'designed' until you (literally) dig a little deeper. Then see how tiny incremental stages overcome enormous challenges. And finally the laryngeal nerve clinches it. I can't think of a better way to perfectly convey all of the power of evolution and all of it's drawbacks.


Sat, 12 Sep 2009 14:28:00 UTC | #396313

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 9 by NewEnglandBob

These wonderful 50 minutes gave small lessons in anatomy, evolution, embryology, ecology and ethology of giraffes.

Sat, 12 Sep 2009 16:25:00 UTC | #396352

dansam's Avatar Comment 10 by dansam

A wonderfully educational and informative program!
Haven't seen anything this good since "Evolve" on The History Channel!

Sun, 13 Sep 2009 00:41:00 UTC | #396426

norgano's Avatar Comment 11 by norgano

As an animal rights person/vegetarian and a rationalist, I want to say that I'm thrilled with this. There's nothing wrong with dissecting animals that have died of natural causes; in fact, it should be encouraged because it provides important and valuable insight. I'm going to look into donating my own body to science when I die. This is incredibly interesting and compelling stuff.

I do find it funny though how so many TV programs talk about evolution as though its discovery were a new thing, or we were FINALLY finding data to confirm it. The theory is so well established and supported, its a shame that so few of us Americans accept it as fact.

Sun, 13 Sep 2009 00:55:00 UTC | #396429

Ohnhai's Avatar Comment 12 by Ohnhai

I loved the series.

I remember watching the start of the Giraffe episode and thinking "that's an odd way to lay the creature out?"

then we get to the point where they cover the tendon that runs along the back of the neck and realised that they had no option to lay the critter out as anything other than the way they did...

For the squeamish the only episode that gets in anyway 'messy' is the whale, where at several points people do get hip deep in viscera.

Sun, 13 Sep 2009 01:19:00 UTC | #396433

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 13 by Carl Sai Baba

Oh crap, it was a baby! :(

Sun, 13 Sep 2009 01:54:00 UTC | #396437

Dorothy Sutton's Avatar Comment 14 by Dorothy Sutton


Speaking the language of batik,
She depicts the story of humankind,
Evolution’s long, slow climb.

Versed in the technique of bakik,
She paints with wax and dips in dye,
Over and over and over again.
Cannot look back to correct mistakes,
Must work with errors as best she can,
Knowing that lurking still in the fabric,
In the wondrous, final, finished product,
Flaws remain.
-Dorothy Sutton

Sun, 13 Sep 2009 02:10:00 UTC | #396439

njwong's Avatar Comment 15 by njwong

I wonder if Channel 4 will dedicate one episode to show the dissection of a human body? Besides, aren't humans one of Nature's "Giants" too?

Sun, 13 Sep 2009 07:24:00 UTC | #396482

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 16 by Jos Gibbons

Comment #414520 by njwong

The difference is our bodies haven't had to evolve adaptations to moving something huge around. Even though the crocodile doesn't seem much bigger than us, all 4 animals in the series have had to evolve a bizarre piston-like mechanism whereby many of their internal organs keep moving as they breathe or move (or both). Then there are the ways they coped with their skeletons, their joints ... All we did was stand upright, make our hands better at handling tools but useless for walking, lose some body hair, widen the head and women's hips and get born sooner. Actually, that is all pretty interesting ...

Sun, 13 Sep 2009 08:05:00 UTC | #396491

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 17 by SaintStephen

This nature's giant wants to finish watching these amazing videos, and then crash down to sleep in a major Brobdingnagian fashion.

Adios for now, muchachos.

Sun, 13 Sep 2009 08:17:00 UTC | #396497

clevehicks's Avatar Comment 18 by clevehicks

This is brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing it. The part about the laryngeal nerve was quite illuminating. The only thing that was missing was a mention of the beautiful and enigmatic 'forest giraffe', the okapi (Okapia johnstoni)of DR Congo, which is the giraffe's closest cousin and looks very much like it, it is just smaller and has a shorter neck. It would have been great to have included it in the evolutionary tree sequence.

Sun, 13 Sep 2009 10:56:00 UTC | #396516

submoron's Avatar Comment 19 by submoron

Please, please, please! Do these on DVD (or bluray if they're HD). I was mislead when they were first broadcast and kept looking on BBC so Ilovelucy wasn't just being pedantic!

Sun, 13 Sep 2009 13:52:00 UTC | #396556

SilentMike's Avatar Comment 20 by SilentMike

That bit about the laryngeal nerve is pure gold. Problem is it's in an hour long show that a lot of people won't watch. It would be good if just that part were made available as a separate clip. That's something you could link too as a piece of evidence for evolution.

Sun, 13 Sep 2009 23:09:00 UTC | #396768

robaylesbury's Avatar Comment 21 by robaylesbury

I loved the episode with the Croc. Incredibly efficient creatures. Didn't think much of the Elephants digestive system, though.

Mon, 14 Sep 2009 14:44:00 UTC | #396926

hfaber's Avatar Comment 22 by hfaber

Stretching your neck does not stretch the vertebral bones. They are under pressure by the longitudinal neck muscles. Stretching would be some kind of Munchausen trick which is not consistent with classical mechanics.

So Richard, this can't be an acquired characteristic. You are not completely clear about this in the movie. You are right ofcourse to dismiss the Lamarckian explanation but since the vertebral bones are not stretched it can't work in the first place.

Wed, 16 Sep 2009 13:54:00 UTC | #397727