This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Word To Use Today: giraffe. With ossicone as a bonus.

The giraffe (or cameleopard, if you're feeling historical) is the tallest living animal, hurray, and the tallest part of the tallest living animal are its ossicones, which are the little horn-like things it wears between its ears.

photo by Sergio Cambelo

Giraffes are extraordinary in many ways. They have traditional calving grounds so they can leave their new-borns in a sort of nursery when the mothers want to go off and feed. They smell of home-made insect-repellent. They neck - though not, as with humans, when they're courting, but when they're fighting off rivals.

Astonishingly, there's some evidence giraffes can relay information across great distances, perhaps by making sounds at frequencies too low for humans to hear (they snore at low frequencies, too, but as far as we know that doesn't have any special meaning).

Giraffes are jolly useful even when, sadly, dead. If you want to cure a nose bleed, then the smoke from a burning giraffe skin is said by the Bugunda people to help (this is at least as sensible as putting a cold key down the back). If, like the Humr people of Sudan, you consume a drink made of a giraffe's liver and bone marrow you are very likely to see the ghosts of giraffes

No, you are, really. It's almost certainly something to do with the psychoactive substances found in a giraffe's acacia-leaf diet.

No wonder they always look so spaced-out.

Word To Use Today: giraffe. This word comes from the Arabic zarāfah. Cameleopard arose because the animal does look a bit like a mixture of a camel and a...but you're there before me. 

No comments:

Post a Comment