Giving a giraffe cow's milk might seem strange at first, but in a way it's more natural than humans drinking cow's milk. After all, cows and giraffes are distant cousins of the same family...
In the African savannah, a giraffe eats the leaves and branches that no other animal can reach.
But to digest plants, whether it's grass or branches, you need more than one stomach, you need to be a ruminant.
All plants contain cellulose, a cell structure that keeps the plants stiff and strongMarker 1
In the first stomach, the rumen, a soup of bacteria breaks down the cellulose and turns into a thick paste.Marker 3
The giraffe then brings the half-digested plants back to its mouth to chew on it and further break it down.
After repeating this process many times, the food moves the other parts of the stomach.
This amazing 4-piece stomach defines ruminants and has allowed them to dominate the grasslands and forests; from deer and bison in North America to wildebeest and antelopes on the plains of the Serengeti.