High tea

Competition is so crucial to animals’ lives that it can have a massive impact on their body shape. Browsers have been moulded into different shapes and sizes so they do not tread on each other’s toes. Tiny dik-diks, for example, can nibble around the thorny lower branches in a way that no bigger animals can. Because of this they do not need to reach higher than a couple of feet. Taller impala, on the other hand, control an acacia’s middle zone. But gerenuks can stand on their back legs, something no other antelope can do. Gerenuks look more like ballet dancers than gazelles and even balance on their points. Their specially adapted hips and spines enable them to swivel vertically and stand on tip-toe on their hind legs. But there is one animal that can feed even higher still – up to six metres. The giraffe has the longest neck in the world and a flexible, leathery tongue which it can use just like a hand to pluck the highest twigs and leaves. So competition has not just pushed animals into developing different eating habits, it has helped created entirely different species that can live together in harmony.

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3 minutes


Role Contributor
PresenterSteve LEONARD
ProducerMark FLOWERS

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