Two dwarf giraffes discovered for the first time in Africa

Two dwarf giraffes discovered for the first time in Africa

Violet Field inPlanetJan 8, 2021 2 min read0 views

These two giraffes have a bone development abnormality whose origin researchers still do not know

Giraffes are studied by biologists from the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. - ALLILI MOURAD / SIPA

After observing two giraffes with surprisingly short legs in 2015 in Uganda and then in 2018 in Namibia, biologists from the Giraffe Conservation Foundation decided to conduct a photographic study to learn more. According to their results published in the journal BMC Research Notes, these two specimens would be affected by an abnormality of bone development, also called skeletal dysplasia, reports Geo.

As part of this study, biologists Michael B. Brown and Emma Wells compared the anatomy of two giraffes seen in Uganda and Namibia with other specimens of their respective species. According to these specialists, the observation is clear: the two giraffes are affected by an anomaly in bone development. They, therefore, have shorter and more robust limbs than the others. It would be "disproportionate" dwarfism.

The origin of the still unknown anomaly

Thanks to photographic surveys, scientists were able to observe that the dimensions of the bones of these two giraffes were significantly smaller than other specimens of roughly the same age. "Morphometric comparisons [...] indicated that the two giraffes with abnormalities exhibit skeletal proportions that differ significantly from the measurements observed at the population level in sub-adults," explained the biologists.

This type of case is relatively rare in animals and it is the first time that such situations have been documented in the giraffe. However, the origin of this anomaly is still unknown.