Giraffe Fossils


The giraffe belongs to the suborder Ruminantia. Many Ruminantia have been described from the mid-Eocene in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and North America. The ecological conditions during this period may have facilitated their rapid dispersal. The giraffe is one of only two living species of the family Giraffidae, the other being the okapi. The family was once much more extensive, with over 10 fossil genera described. Their closest known relatives are the extinct climacocerids. They, together with the family Antilocapridae (whose only extant species is the pronghorn), belong to the superfamily Giraffoidea. These animals evolved from the extinct family Palaeomerycidae 8 million years ago (mya) in south-central Europe during the Miocene epoch. Read more ...




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How the giraffe got its long neck: 9 million year old fossil discovered in Spain sheds light on the evolution of world's tallest animal   Daily Mail - November 1, 2017

While most giraffes now live in Africa, a primitive giraffe lived in modern day Spain nine million years ago. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of the creature, which had four horns and a short neck, on the Iberian Peninsula for the first time. The findings suggest that the ancestors of the world's tallest mammal migrated out of Africa - just like humans. The remarkable discovery could also help shed light on how the giraffe got its long neck - a question that has mystified experts for decades.




Ancient giraffe relative had thick legs, curly horns   Science Daily - January 13, 2016

An ancient relative of the giraffe was a huge, heavy animal with thick legs, a flat face and massive, curly horns flaring out from its skull. Dubbed Sivatherium giganteum, the impressive creature would have been shorter than today's giraffe, with a less elongated neck. Added to the large, flattened horns or "ossicones" on the top of the skull, each about 70 centimetres (28 inches) long, it also had two smaller, pointy horns just over the eyes.




Fossil vertebrae reveal clues to evolution of long neck in giraffe   PhysOrg - November 27, 2015

For many years, the researchers note, textbooks have used S. major as an example of evolution in progress, with a neck shorter than a modern giraffe (whose neck is on average 2 meters long), but longer than the okapi (just 60 centimeters) - the two represent its only modern relatives, both of which live in Africa - all three are members of the 'giraffid' family. But actual fossil evidence of the evolutionary changes had been lacking, in this new effort, the researchers sought to find that confirmation.




'Giraffe of the Mesozoic' Discovered   PhysOrg - September 8, 2009
A creature dubbed a "Giraffe of the Mesozoic" has been discovered in China. The animal, with its giraffe-like long neck and long forelimbs is the first well-preserved Early Cretaceous brachiosaurid dinosaur to be discovered in Asia. It lived about 100 million years ago. Brachiosaurs were herbivorous dinosaurs belonging to the sauropod family, but in comparison to some brachiosaurs, the new species, Qiaowanlong kangxii, is quite small, at only around 10 feet tall and close to 40 feet long. It weighed a mere 10 tons.





Giraffes




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