A British study revealed that the types of giraffes do not fall into one species only, but rather that they are four distinct species, bearing different genetic characteristics that distinguish them from other types of giraffes. It was previously thought that all giraffes are the same, though there are subdivisions of their subspecies.
The British Daily Mail newspaper sheds light on this new study, in which scientists tracked and mapped the genetic map of dozens of giraffes, to show that they are not similar and differentiate from each other with different genetic characteristics.
Scientists have spotted four different species, which are the northern giraffe, the reticulated giraffe, the Maasai giraffe and the southern giraffe, as the four strains of giraffes have evolved separately for thousands of years, and scientists say that the genetic drawing shows that there are big points of difference that show what each species is, as different as brown bears About polarity for example.
The study says that the difference may not be easy to distinguish visually, but rather requires a genetic examination to find out.
Lead researcher Dr. Axel Janke explained to the British newspaper, that despite the same appearance, there are four distinct species of giraffes and seven subspecies genetically. “New mammalian species are rarely discovered and described,” says Janki, adding that genomics opens new possibilities for expanding our understanding.
The number of giraffes has decreased dramatically in recent years and their number on the African continent is estimated at about 117 thousand giraffes, but with the presence of four distinct species, it makes the situation worse, as each species is exposed to a greater threat from the rapid decline in numbers and lack of mixing.
“The results of the genome analysis are of great importance in giraffe preservation,” said Dr Julian Vinici, a co-author of the study.
Read the full article on DW Press here