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Darkening coat colour reveals life history and life expectancy of male Thornicroft’s giraffes

Much of the information available about the life history of the giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis, is derived from captive studies or short-term field studies. The coat colour of male giraffes, especially the blotches, darkens with age, but no studies have systematically mapped the colour transition with chronological age based on long-term data. We examine the value of using darkening coat colour as a biomarker of male age. We analyzed 33 years of data from 36 male Thornicroft’s giraffes, G. c. thornicroftii,

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