For years, scientists thought there was one species of giraffe, but genetics just proved there are four

For years, scientists thought there was one species of giraffe, but genetics just proved there are four

Picture the giraffe: the elegant neck, the graceful legs, the lovely yellow-gold coat splotched with brown. For years, zoologists thought this giant African mammal was one of a kind—until genetics proved there were actually four distinct types that don’t interbreed.

On Thursday (Sept. 8), researchers from the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Namibia and the Goethe University in Germanypublished work that showed the Giraffa genus contains four different species. Though the distinctions between the species are subtle, the new classifications will help conservationists determine which populations are healthy in number, and which may need to be protected by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Read more here.


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