Giraffe in the hole

I admittedly don’t know the hows or whys, but have you ever thought of what would happen if a giraffe fell into a black hole?

Giraffes have their head some 2 meters above the rest of their body, so in theory their head experiences a faster passage of time than their lower body which is in a greater gravitational field.

My bad hand writing lead my teachers to state that I thought quicker than my body – maybe it’s the same with giraffes too? Or the temporal variation across the length of their neck might explain why their heads lean forwards in front of their body when they run somewhere; their head gets there first.

Or it thinks it does.

Giraffe in a black hole
Giraffe in the hole

Somehow (and I admittedly don’t know either the likelihood of the whys or how this situation might arise…) I got round to thinking about a giraffe falling head first into a black hole.

Gravitationally speaking, the situation is now reversed – the head being in a greater gravitational force would experience time passing slower than their body which is further away from this gravitational monstrosity.

I see two effects here. One is that the giraffe will stretch as gravitational forces differ along the length of the giraffe. And in turn, this will exacerbate the gravitational difference leading to more stretching…and so on. It’s a positive feedback.

But the time dilation provides a negative feedback – time at the head end passes slowly whereas at the foot end it passes more quickly. Would the difference allow for the feet to catch up with the end, effectively providing some sort of asymptotic compression?

Maybe there’s some sort of equilibrium length for a neck. Say…about 2 meters?


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Author: Paul Wandason

I love astronomy and science fiction, but I love my family more. So I love time travel too!

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