Gross Anatomy of the Intestine in the Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)

We describe the macroscopic anatomy of the intestine of the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis). The small intestine was divided into duodenum, jejunum and ileum as usual. The caecum was attached to the ileum by a long ileocaecal fold, and to the proximal ansa of the ascending colon by a caecocolic fold. The ascending colon was the most developed portion of the gross intestine and had the most complex arrangement with three ansae: the proximal ansa, the spiral ansa and the distal ansa. The proximal ansa completely encircled the caecum, describing a 3600 gyrus, and represented the widest portion of the intestine. The spiral ansa was formed by three and a half centripetal gyri, a central flexure and three centrifugal gyri. The last centrifugal gyrus left the spiral and described nine flexures of different form and direction over the left side of the mesentery. The two portions that formed each of these flexures ran parallel to each other. The last part of this gyrus ran parallel to the jejunum. When compared with domestic cattle, giraffe had a comparatively short small intestine and a comparatively long large intestine, with a resulting small ratio of small:large intestine. Reasons are presented why this should be considered a peculiarity of cattle-like ruminants rather than a different representative of a browser–grazer dichotomy in general.

Last Updated
January 26, 2021
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