New Study Shows Interesting Diversity In African Giraffe Species


While the most popular magnificent African species diminish in a disturbing rate, new study finds that there are now 4 species of African giraffe.

Overtime it has been noticed that the African giraffe despite its uncommon long neck and size is often not as popular as other African magnificent animals like the lion, tiger, elephant and the Rhinos.

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Before now the general knowledge was that African giraffes has a single specie which is divided into 9 sub-species.

However the latest study on the mammal has shown other wise. Research shows that there are 4 giraffe species in Africa.

Those four species include:

  • southern giraffe (Giraffa giraffa),
  • Masai giraffe (G. tippelskirchi),
  • reticulated giraffe (G. reticulata)
  • northern giraffe (G. camelopardalis), which includes the Nubian giraffe (G. c. camelopardalis) as a distinct but related subspecies.

Interestingly it was also found that these species did not cross-breed for 1-2 million years. This made it possible for the African giraffes to evolve into distinct species.

The research was carried out on a request by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to ascertain the genetic differences in all the variety of species. The foundation also wanted to know the outcome of inter-breeding of the different species of giraffe.

Axel Janke, a geneticist at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, and leader of the research team says “that the sub-species were genetically very different and separate.” He admitted that the development was rare.

See Also: Disaster! Study Shows Severe Depletion Of Elephants In Africa’s Forests

It is believed that this finding will help in the conservation of the world’s tallest mammal in Africa.

“This is an important finding that will enable conservation biologists to target their efforts and, perhaps, to come up with new conservation approaches in captivity or in the wild, based on the genetic similarities and differences between these groups.” – Professor Cobb.

African giraffes are found in the Sahel savanna regions of West Africa and in the Southern African region as well. They dwell in habitats with tall trees, arid land, dense forests and open plains.

Giraffes survive well in desert-like areas. The African mammal has been naturally designed to cope for several days without water.