Anne Innis Dagg has been called the Jane Goodall of giraffes. In 1956, she travelled to South Africa—alone—to study them in the wild, which resulted in her 1976 book, The Giraffe. That book is still studied in universities today.
In the new documentary, The Woman Who Loves Giraffes, we learn just how far Anne had to stick her neck out to follow her dreams.
Pursuing her passion to study the behaviour of giraffes didn’t come easy for Anne, a woman graduating from university in the 1950s. Women scientists weren’t really a thing. Not yet, anyways. When Anne took her trip to South Africa, it was still several years before Goodall began her lifelong work with chimps.
While in Africa, Anne spent 10 hours in the field, watching giraffes from her car as she took notes. Her observations of giraffe behaviour were the first of their kind—for any African animal, in fact. She was the first t observe homosexual behaviour in male giraffes, and also witnessed fights between male giraffes jockeying for status. She also learned that male giraffes will taste a female giraffe’s urine to test their fertility. (Ew.)
Intrigued? Here are more fascinating things you probably didn’t know about these majestic creatures.
They sleep standing up
When giraffes give birth, their babies fall more than five feet
An hour after that long fall, baby giraffes can already stand and run
Giraffes are pros at power naps
You don’t want to mess with a giraffe
They only need to drink water once every few days
A giraffe’s tongue can be 20-inches long
Giraffe spots are very similar to human fingerprints
The more you know!