Anatomy of a Giraffe
Ref. Mammal Anatomy 2010 Marshall Cavendish Corporation
The Giraffe is perhaps one of the most iconic species of Africa and to the mysteries and intrigue that lie within the confines of evolution. The purpose of this paper is to explain how this wonderful, iconic organism has evolved physiologically to be suited to its’ environment. In this paper we will be discussing the elements that best describe its’ evolutionary progress. The areas we will be covering include the Skeletal System, the Digestive and Excretory System, and small parts of the Circulatory System. But first we will start with the evolution of the Giraffe, what family it belongs to, what some of its relatives are, and what some of its ancestors are.
Giraffes are a Ruminant. According to Dictionary.com (2012) a Ruminant is “any even-toed, hoofed mammal of the suborder Ruminantia, being comprised of cloven-hoofed, cud-chewing quadrupeds, and including, besides domestic cattle, bison, buffalo, deer, antelopes, giraffes, camels, and chevrotains.” Most Ruminants are considered what scientists call “Even-Toed Ungulates” and Giraffes are very even-toed and they belong to the order of Artiodactyla. Being even-toed means just that, they have an even number of toes on each foot. Relatives and family members of the Artiodactyla include most types of deer and antelopes, and also include cattle, sheep, and goats. This also means that many of the Ungulates develop horns or antlers.
Giraffids are a very elite group. There are only two that belong to this group of animals. The Giraffe and the Okapi are the only two, and Giraffes are the tallest mammals in the world. “Both are tall animals that browse on vegetation; today giraffes occur only in Africa and south of the Sahara, although they formerly live in North Africa, too.” (Bernabeo, 2010) Okapis are not squarely spotted such as the giraffe; instead they have a long brown neck and...
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