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The Remarkable Cardiovascular System of Giraffes

Gravity affects the physiology of many animals, and the effect is, for good reason, most pronounced in tall species. The physiology—in particular, cardiovascular function—of giraffes has therefore captivated the interest of physiologists for centuries. Several studies document high mean arterial blood pressure of giraffes of about 200 mm Hg. This appears necessary to establish a cerebral perfusion pressure on the order of 100mmHg at the cranial end of the carotid arteries. Here, we discuss the unique characteristics of blood vessels,

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Kidney of Giraffes

This study focuses on certain aspects of the renal structure of the giraffe, with some implications as to its function. About 4,000 collecting ducts open at the truncated end of a curved crest that juts into the renal pelvis as the inner medulla (IM). Extensions of the pelvis pass between the medullary (MP) and vascular (VP) processes almost to the corticomedullary border. The MPs contain an IM and an outer medulla (OM) containing clusters of capillaries (vascular bundles). The VPs

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