Giraffe

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giraffe : a large fleet African ruminant mammal that is the tallest of living quadrupeds and has a very long neck and a short coat with dark blotches separated by pale lines — Webster

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Giraffe is a genus of African even-toed ungulate mammals, the tallest living terrestrial animals and the largest ruminants. The genus currently consists of one species, Giraffa camelopardalis, the type species. Seven other species are extinct, prehistoric species known from fossils. Taxonomic classifications of one to eight extant giraffe species have been described, based upon research into the mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, as well as morphological measurements of Giraffa, but the IUCN currently recognizes only one species with nine subspecies.

The giraffe’s chief distinguishing characteristics are its extremely long neck and legs, its horn-like ossicones, and its distinctive coat patterns. It is classified under the family Giraffidae, along with its closest extant relative, the okapi. Its scattered range extends from Chad in the north to South Africa in the south, and from Niger in the west to Somalia in the east. Giraffes usually inhabit savannahs and woodlands. Their food source is leaves, fruits and flowers of woody plants, primarily acacia species, which they browse at heights most other herbivores cannot reach. Giraffes may be preyed on by lions, leopards, spotted hyenas and African wild dogs. Giraffes live in herds of related females and their offspring, or bachelor herds of unrelated adult males, but are gregarious and may gather in large aggregations.

The giraffe has intrigued various cultures, both ancient and modern, for its peculiar appearance, and has often been featured in paintings, books, and cartoons. It is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as Vulnerable to extinction, and has been extirpated from many parts of its former range. Giraffes are still found in numerous national parks and game reserves but estimations as of 2016 indicate that there are approximately 97,500 members of Giraffa in the wild, with around 1,144 in captivity. — Wikipedia

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Phys.org - latest science and technology news stories Phys.org internet news portal provides the latest news on science including: Physics, Nanotechnology, Life Sciences, Space Science, Earth Science, Environment, Health and Medicine.

  • Too tall to live: Death of two giraffes by...
    on September 18, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    Ciska P. J. Scheijen, a conservationist at Rockwood Conservation, a nature park in South Africa, is wondering if giraffes are at greater risk of being struck by lightning due to their great height. In his paper published in the African Journal of Ecology, he notes that two giraffes in his park in South Africa were recently killed by a lightning strike.

  • How do giraffes and elephants alter the African...
    on September 14, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    As they roam around the African savanna in search for food, giraffes and elephants alter the diversity and richness of its vegetation. By studying the foraging patterns of these megaherbivores across different terrains in a savanna in Kenya, scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and collaborating institutions discovered that these large mammals prefer to eat their meals on flat ground, potentially impacting the growth and survival of plant species on even savanna […]

  • First assessment of naturalized, invasive and...
    on September 11, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    CABI scientists have led the first assessment of naturalized, invasive and potentially invasive plant species present in Laikipia County, Kenya, which hosts the highest populations of endangered large mammals in the country.

  • Fossils reveal diversity of animal species...
    on August 24, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    A re-analysis of fossils from one of Europe's most significant paleontological sites reveals a wide diversity of animal species, including a large terrestrial monkey, short-necked giraffe, rhinos and saber-toothed cats.

  • Fossil mystery solved: Super-long-necked reptiles...
    on August 6, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    A fossil called Tanystropheus was first described in 1852, and it's been puzzling scientists ever since. At one point, paleontologists thought it was a flying pterosaur, like a pterodactyl, and that its long, hollow bones were phalanges in the finger that supported the wing. Later on, they figured out that those were elongated neck bones, and that it was a twenty-foot-long reptile with a ten-foot neck: three times as long as its torso. Scientists still weren't sure if it lived on land or in the […]