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Effects of body size on estimation of mammalian area requirements

Accurately quantifying species’ area requirements is a prerequisite for effective area-based conservation. This typically involves collecting tracking data on species of interest and then conducting home-range analyses. Problematically, autocorrelation in tracking data can result in space needs being severely underestimated. Based on the previous work, we hypothesized the magnitude of underestimation varies with body mass, a relationship that could have serious conservation implications. To evaluate this hypothesis for terrestrial mammals, we estimated home-range areas with global positioning system (GPS) locations

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An allometric analysis of the giraffe cardiovascular system

There has been co-evolution of a long neck and high blood pressure in giraffes. How the cardiovascular system (CVS) has adapted to produce a high blood pressure, and how it compares with other similar sized mammals largely is unknown. We have measured body mass and heart structure in 56 giraffes of both genders ranging in body mass from 18 kg to 1500 kg, and developed allometric equations that relate changes in heart dimensions to growth and to cardiovascular function. Predictions

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Scaling of the Appendicular Skeleton of the Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)

Giraffes have remarkably long and slender limb bones, but it is unknown how they grow with regard to body mass, sex, and neck length. In this study, we measured the length, mediolateral (ML) diameter, craniocaudal (CC) diameter and circumference of the humerus, radius, metacarpus, femur, tibia, and metatarsus in 10 fetuses, 21 females, and 23 males of known body masses. Allometric exponents were determined and compared. We found the average bone length increased from 340 ± 50 mm at birth to 700 ± 120

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Large predators and their prey in a southern African savanna: a predator’s size determines its prey size range

A long‐term (13‐year) data set, based on > 4000 kills, was used to test whether a sympatric group of large predators adheres to the theoretical predictions that (1) mean prey body size and (2) prey diversity increase as functions of predator body size. All kills observed by safari guides are documented routinely in Mala Mala Private Game Reserve, South Africa. We analysed these records for lion (Panthera leo, Linnaeus), leopard (Panthera pardus, Linnaeus), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus, Schreber) and African wild dog (Lycaon

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Home range — body mass relations: a field study on African browsing ruminants

Home range data were collected concurrently from four syntopic browsing ruminant species in a conserved savanna ecosystem. Mean home range areas were: giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) 282 km^2; kudu (Tragelaphus strepciceros) 21.9 km^2; impala (Aepyceros melampus) 5.81 km^2; steenbok (Raphicerus campestris) 0.62 km^2. Home range area (Ahr) scaled on body mass (M) as: Ahr = 0.024 M^1.38 (r^2 = 0.99).

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On reconstructing Giraffa sivalensis, and extinct giraffid from the Siwalik Hills, India

Giraffa sivalensis occurred during the Plio-Pleistocene period and probably represents the terminal species of the genus in Southern Asia. The holotype is an almost perfectly preserved cervical vertebra of disputed anatomical location. Although there is also uncertainty regarding this animal’s size, other specimens that have been assigned to this species include fragments of two humeri, a radius, metacarpi and teeth. Here we estimate neck length, leg length and body mass using interspecific and, unusually, ontogenetic allometry of extant giraffe skeletal

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Necks-for-sex or competing browsers? A critique of ideas on the evolution of giraffe

Recent years have witnessed a resurgence in tests of the evolution and origin of the great height and long neck of the giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis. The two main hypotheses are (1) long necks evolved through competition with other browsers allowing giraffe to feed above them (‘competing browsers’ hypothesis); or (2) the necks evolved for direct use in intra-sexual combat to gain access to oestrous females (‘necks-for-sex’ hypothesis). Here, we review recent developments and their relative contribution in explaining giraffe evolution.

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Winning by a neck – Sexual selection in the evolution of giraffe

A classic example of extreme morphological adaptation to the environment is the neck of the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), a trait that most biologists since Darwin have attributed to competition with other mammalian browsers. However, in searching for present-day evidence for the maintenance of the long neck, we find that during the dry season (when feeding competition should be most intense) giraffe generally feed from low shrubs, not tall trees; females spend over 50% of their time feeding with their necks

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