What we clumsy Science

On the sole of the hand drips

A hippopotamus, a gorilla, a camel and even one fish tribe would get into trouble at a swimming school.

The hippopotamus spends most of its life in the water, only in the hours of the night does it rise to the ground to graze. It can even sleep in drowsiness and occasionally rise to the surface to breathe without waking up.

Still, the hippopotamus can’t swim, not even float.

The hippopotamus does move fast in the water, up to eight kilometers per hour. Speed ​​might be enough for medal winners at the Olympics, but performance would likely be abandoned, as technically a hippopotamus swims in the hand.

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In shallow water, the hippopotamus’s feet reach the bottom and it moves on foot. In deep water, an animal of more than a thousand kilograms travels in long leaps, sometimes struggling from the bottom. The creature looks like an astronaut bouncing on the surface of the Moon.

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Water is denser than air, so it resists movement and weakens the effect of gravity. In the body of a hippopotamus, density and buoyancy combine in a way that allows just such a go. On the surface, the hippopotamus is too dense and unnecessarily shriveled for bathing, just like a rhino with a similar body shape.

The giraffe has not been seen swimming either. The majority of scientists consider its stretched nature unsuitable for bathing.

Admittedly, a couple of dedicated paleontologists performed in 2010 Theoretical Biology journal mathematical modeling that a giraffe would theoretically be able to swim.

Admittedly, going would be clumsy and the animal would have to support its neck at a strange angle, the researchers noted.

In nature, giraffes have no need for bathing, and the savannah offers little opportunity to do so. The same goes for camels that have adapted to the desert. Only one camel race can swim. It is an Indian monochrome kharai that swims in the sea during the rainy season to graze in the mangrove forests of the islands.

Among poorly swimming animals, trolls deserve a kind of honorable mention. It is a tribe of fish whose fins are suitable for walking at the bottom.

Most mammals, when immersed in water, instinctively do similar swimming movements in which we humans, so to speak, swim the dog. The designation is misleading in that not all dogs can swim properly.

For example, a dachshund can easily make a Eskimo turn in the water when a long tail strong relative to the body of the sock carelessly carries the back of the animal with it. The Scottish Terrier is unable to keep its head afloat for long distances, and short-nosed breeds can easily splash water.

These races are therefore the safest to swim vests on.

When wondering about animals that are unable to swim, it is good to remember that humans also belong to them. Almost all other mammals receive the art of swimming as a birth gift, we need to learn it.

The gorillas, oranges and chimpanzees of our close relatives also do not remain on the surface. The reason is obviously nervous, because by their structure they would be able to dread in the water. Capture is known as a chimpanzee who has learned to splash in the pool.

Scientists are not sure why the congenital ability to swim has disappeared from the genus of great apes. Floating species are known from other ape tribes.

Perhaps the nervous system’s specialization in climbing trees and jumping from branch to branch has somehow limited the reflexes needed for swimming. In any case, the art of swimming has not been used in the tree, and its fading has not affected the lives of the early apes.

Each toddler in their own style

Kuikka can barely walk, and the kangaroo moves agilely in only one direction.

Kuikka’s cry is perhaps the most used sound effect in domestic nature programs. The bird is so well adapted to aquatic life that it only rises on the earth’s crust to nest. Then its elongated body reveals its weaknesses.

Kuikka is unable to get up on her feet but slides on the ground with her fins. The limbs are far too close to the tail’s center of gravity.

In dives, this is handy as the feet hit the body like the boat’s propellers.

Effective diving has been more beneficial for a fishing bird than walking on the shores, so Kuikka minimizes walks and builds its nest right on the water’s edge. Take-off requires a long stretch of lake ridge as a runway.

The body structure is similar. They have taken the avoidance of steps even further and are building a nest on a raft floating in the water. The chicks move directly from the nest to aquatic life on the mother’s back.

Even agile feet may not carry their owner in only one direction. A kangaroo can progress by jumping to fifty, but it can’t pack at all.

When jumping, a strong tail balances the go, but when backwards, it would be in the way of the animal. Reversal is not possible even when the kangaroo lowers its forelegs to the ground and moves slowly in a quadruped: it is pressed to the ground alternately with the forelegs and hind legs like the Fifth Limb.

In Australia, there is another animal from which it is not possible to walk backwards: the giant bird emu. The reason has remained unclear, as it naturalizes from a very similar ostrich.

In general, moving backwards is unnecessary and even disgusting to most animals. For example, a horse is not happy to reverse a couple of steps more, because then it will not see where it is going.

I wish I could spend the night

The stomach betrays the rat that tasted the poison and the thunder strikes the horse because neither can vomit.

In the grip of stomach ailments, this becomes less common, but vomiting is a natural gift to man. Not all animals can do that. Thus, eating spoiled food can be the last mistake.

In rodents, the sphincter between the stomach and esophagus is so stiff that there is no way for food to return. They also lack the muscle strength and nerve connections needed to empty the stomach that would cause the attacking movement.

This is why rat poison is such an effective weapon against line tails: if they swallow the bait, their bodies will no longer get rid of the poison. Indeed, rats are extremely skeptical about new foods.

If, despite careful care, a rat receives food poisoning, it eats clay or other soil to dilute the poison in the digestive tract as much as possible. If an animal survives, it will not be mistaken to taste the same taste again.

Vomiting is difficult even for a horse. Therefore, its stomach may even rupture as a result of constipation when it cannot be emptied at either end. The condition is called gastric constipation.

Lazy people also have their own restrictions on their abdominal function. It is probably the only mammal that is unable to sequester its intestinal gases in the form of farts.

This is probably related to its extremely slow digestion. The lazy man descends from the tree to defecate only once a week. In the meantime, the gases are absorbed from the intestine into the animal’s bloodstream and escape with the breathing air.

Nevertheless, the laziness of a lazy person does not smell particularly bad, the Korkeasaari staff confirms.

Johanna Junttila
is the editor of Tiede Luonto magazine.

The experts are Suvi Viranta-Kovanen, Senior University Lecturer, University of Helsinki, and Esa Hohtola, Professor Emeritus, University of Oulu.

And why can’t an elephant jump, a penguin fly, or a cat taste sweet? You can read the full article in Science Nature issue 3/2022 or digilehdet.fi:stäif you are a subscriber to a Sanoma magazine.

Source: Tiede by www.tiede.fi.

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