Nasal heat exchange in the giraffe and other large mammals

Author(s)V.A. Langman, G.M.O. Maloiy, K. Schmidt-nielsen and R.C. Schroter
Year Published1979
JournalRespiration Physiology
Page Numbers325-333
Size2.19 MB

The respiratory air of the giraffe is exhaled at temperatures substantially below body core temperature. As a consequence, the water content of the exhaled air is reduced to levels below that in pulmonary air, resulting in substantial reductions in respiratory water loss. Measurements under outdoor conditions showed that at an ambient air temperature of 24 degrees C, the exhaled air was 7 degrees C below body core temperature, and at ambient air temperature of 17 degrees C, the exhaled air was 13 degrees C below core temperature. The observations were extended to two additional species of wild and four species of domestic ungulates. All these animals exhaled air at temperatures below body core temperature. The average amount of water recovered due to cooling of the air during exhalation, calculated as percent of the water loss that would occur if air were exhaled at body core temperature, amounted to between 24 and 58%, the average value for the giraffe being  56%.

Key Words: Airways, body temperature, expired gas temperature, respiratory water loss, thermoregulation, ungulates

Authors: V.A. Langman, G.M.O. Maloiy, K. Schmidt-nielsen and R.C. Schroter

Journal: Respiration Physiology 

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