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Why some Africans stand out in a crowd: BokSmart for injury prevention and other SASMA-related jewels
  1. Jon S Patricios
  1. Correspondence to Jon Patricios, South African Sports Medicine Association, PO Box 1267, Parklands, 2121, Johannesburg, South Africa; jpat{at}

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The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) pictured on the front cover has more similarities to us than we might think. Their necks, like ours, contain seven vertebra. The classical Darwinian explanation for the remarkable feat of biological engineering that is the elongated giraffe's neck being that it allowed them to reach higher branches. As a consequence, these giraffes were more reproductively successful since they had untouched food sources while giraffes of lesser stature perished due to competition.1 2 Giraffes can feed at a variety of levels but have the ability to reach high during times of tough competition – sound like a few sportsmen you know? The giraffe's cardiovascular adaptations to overcome massive gravitational forces include a bigger heart (a great exercise benefit!) said to be twice as powerful a pump as other animals', while the tight skin and tough fascia of their legs has been mimicked by National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientists in the design of astronauts' gravity suits.3 But perhaps the most interesting feature of the giraffe, as they gracefully stride across the African savannah, is its visibility – the ability to stand …

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