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mr_bean (3802)

mr_bean
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Journal of mr_bean (3802)

Saturday January 12, 2008
11:47 PM

know your camel (and cameleopard)

[ #35380 ]
CLKAO had a picture of a camel and giraffe in his slides for his introduction to svk, but I can't find that now. Here are some other similar pictures off flickr.com and flickr.com. These confirm that the animals are similar. But the contrast is striking.
There was apparently a giraffe-like camel. Aepycamelus, a Miocene camel
Bewick's woodcut of the giraffe also gives it a very camel-like face.
Continuing my discussion of Wikipedia articles on the moose and other animals commenting on MooseX, the article on the giraffe talks about the fact its forelegs are 10 percent longer than hindlegs and its gait at low speeds and high speeds.
This led me on to the entry on horse gaits, which will tell you more about the subject than you ever wanted to know.
Child to Pear's Children's Encyclopedia editor: Your encyclopedia told me more about penguins than I cared to know.
But apparently the gait of giraffes at slow speed, pacing, moving both the legs on the left side together and then those on the right side together, is not a natural gait for horses. Their working gait is the trot, in which diagonally opposite legs are moved together. This is a fairly stable gait for the horse, if less so for the rider.
But horses can be trained to pace. It is, however very uncomfortable for a rider on top of a pacing horse, rocked from side to side in a rapid rhythm.
According to the article, camels also pace naturally, but being taller, their rate of stepping is slower, so 'a rider can follow the rocking motion.'
I guess that's where the camel gets its Ship of the Desert name from the rider being rolled out about on top of, more so than on top of a stable horse.
I wonder what I could learn from what is probably the camel entry? Probably more than I ever wanted to know.
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  • Don't forget the Latin name: cameleopardalis. Apparently they looked like a cross between a camel and a leopard to early explorers.