No-one better tell ME giraffes aren’t all about the high browsing

August 14, 2021

On Thursday, I took the family to the Cotswolds Wildlife Park, a rather lovely zoo just over an hour away from us in Burford, Oxfordshire. Somehow I’d never even heard of this place until we passed a sign for it on the A417 a few weeks ago. Lots of great stuff there, but I wanted to focus on this:

As you can see, the clump of big trees in the giraffe enclosure has had all its foliage methodically stripped off, right up to the point where the tallest giraffe can reach, giving it a striking mushroom shape.

2 Responses to “No-one better tell ME giraffes aren’t all about the high browsing”

  1. llewelly Says:

    Above giraffe level, only insects browse. (Elephants, as far as I know, can’t reach any higher than a giraffe. Sloths and primates are presumably not allowed in the tree.)

    In this case it’s worth remembering the giraffe population pictured is artificially high, while the insect population might be artificially low.
    That doesn’t detract from your argument that the “mushroom” shape of the foilage shows giraffes are all about high-browsing – well, high-browsing by Cenozoic standards, anyway.

    I brought up insects to raise an interesting thought: Sauropods browsed a range of heights which today are mainly browsed by insects. There are some primates, sloths, and a few other odds and ends, but it’s mainly insects.

    Could it be that saurpods taking up browsing roles which today are insect-dominated enabled the marvelous diversity of Morrison formation saurpods?

  2. hectorgom Says:

    Mushroom-shaped trees like the one in your zoo photo are common in the African savanna.


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