Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata
Colored Pencil on Film/Digital
This poster studies the anatomy and musculature/skeletal structure of the long neck of the reticulated giraffe. The giraffe actually has the same number of vertebrae as a human, each one is just elongated. They have surprisingly long tongues to reach the high leaves of the acacia trees. They share a symbiotic relationship with the Red-billed oxpeckers (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) and Yellow-billed oxpeckers (Buphagus africanus). The oxpeckers, also known as tickbirds eats ticks and parasites off the giraffe and are dependent on their host for much of their food. In return, the giraffe is relieved of blood-sucking, disease-carrying parasites. The hitchhiking birds make a hissing sound when they sense danger. It is debatable whether or not this actually benefits the giraffe, whose keen eyesight and stature allows it to be the first to spot predators, establishing them as the “Watchdogs of the Savanna.” The birds can also be seen cleaning the giraffe’s teeth with their pointed bill, and bedding down under the giraffe’s armpits for the night.