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How Do Animals Survive The Intense Heat Of The Namib Desert?

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Despite being one of the largest and hottest deserts in southern Africa, the Namib Desert is relatively abundant in wildlife, including elephants.

A variety of survival techniques have evolved, enabling animals such as the gemsbok and ostrich to keep themselves cool even on the hottest of days.

The gemsbok, a small antelope, has a shiny coat that reflects sunlight, helping to reduce its body temperature. On its face, the gemsbok has a network of special veins that allows the blood before it reaches the brain to be cooled by the antelope's breathing by a process called thermal panting. This permits the antelope's body temperature to rise above that which would normally cause brain damage.

Ostriches, meanwhile, employ the same process, but, in addition, their feathers insulate the bird from the heat of the sun. By running around in the heat of the day, the ostrich can cool itself down by lifting their wings and fanning out their feathers to assist the loss of convectional heat. As they run, the movement of air through their feathers carries away body heat.

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