Giraffe and okapi: Africa’s forgotten megafauna

The Giraffidae family includes only two living species of ungulates: the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) and the okapi (Okapia johnstoni), both restricted to the African continent. Taxonomically, the Giraffa and Okapia genera separated from each other approximately 16 million years ago (Hassanin et al., 2012), and they now exhibit as many differences as similarities. Today Okapia is represented by one species (Okapia johnstoni; Hart, 2013), though with surprisingly high genetic variation (Stanton et al., 2014), whereas nine subspecies of giraffe are currently recognized (although ongoing research is underway): Giraffa camelopardalis angolensis, G. c. antiquorum, G. c. camelopardalis, G. c. giraffa, G. c. peralta, G. c. reticulata, G. c. rothschildi, G. c. thornicrofti and G. c. tippelskirchi; Giraffe Conservation Foundation, 2013; Bock et al., 2014).

Last Updated
January 26, 2021
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