Anatomy of the Mouth of the Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi)

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William Pérez; Virginie Michel; Hassen Jerbi & Noelia Vazquez


The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is both the largest extant ruminant and a strict browser. We dissect and describe the macroscopic anatomy of the mouth of the giraffe. The heads of two adult giraffes and one fetus were used in this study. The lips were well developed, the upper one was predominant and dorsally flattened near the nostrils. The tongue had a lift or lingual torus and rostrally to it a groove-shaped depression or fossa linguae. There was no adipose body of cheek (Corpus adiposum buccae). The hard palate in the giraffe had 18 Rugae palatinae. The final roughness reaches the caudal border of the premolar 3. Caudal ridges had no papillae. The parotid gland was small and consisted of two lobes, one rostral and one caudal to be separated dorsally to accommodate the parotid lymph node. The parotid duct followed the same way as in the cow, ended in front of the upper premolar tooth 2 in the parotid papilla, (not evident at mucosal surface). Mandibular gland was divided into two lobes, the rostral one placed in the intermandibular space and the caudal hidden by the parotid gland. Giraffes have the monostomatic and polistomatic sublingual glands. The monostomatic sublingual gland was located rostrally and joined to the monostomatic of the other side in the very narrow rostral intermandibular space. The polistomatic sublingual gland was caudally located and reached the level of the third molar and at a deeper level than the monostomatic. The studied giraffes had dorsal, ventral and intermediate bucal salivary glands. Leaving aside the differences caused by different dimensions, the mouth of the giraffe had in general a similar anatomical arrangement to the cow.

KEY WORDS: Mouth; Giraffe; Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi; Macroscopic anatomy.

How to cite this article

PÉREZ, W.; MICHEL, V.; JERBI, H. & VAZQUEZ, N. Anatomy of the mouth of the Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi). Int. J. Morphol., 30(1):322-329, 2012.