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Giraffe Evolution

By motaalondra Sep 29, 2012 382 Words
Alondra Mota
Once scientists began thinking about animals in terms of evolution, the giraffe became a seemingly straightforward example. It is as if the giraffe's long neck was begging to be explained by evolutionary theorists. The idea that the giraffe got its long neck due to food shortages in the lower reaches of trees seems almost self-evident. The giraffe is taller than all other mammals, can feed where no others can, and therefore has a distinct advantage. It seems compelling to say that the long neck and legs developed in relation to this advantage. Why else would the giraffe be so tall? You find this view presented in children's books, in web descriptions of the giraffe, and in textbooks. One of the first evolutionary thinkers, Jean-Baptist Lamarck, offered a short description of how the giraffe evolved. This was published in 1809. A little over sixty years later, Charles Darwin commented on giraffe evolution. This was published in 1872. The time that all this was starting to be looked into was in the 1800’s. But the giraffe itself evolved millions of years ago. Giraffes are known to live mostly in Africa. The problem there was that the soil in Africa was arid and barren. This means that the giraffe had to find another way to get food. The trees were filled with leaves that none of the animals could reach. Only the giraffes could reach if they stretched far enough. From the giraffe having to force itself in order to live it evolved to having the long neck we all know today. It’s thought that the giraffe had to stretch itself to the point that it evolved so it wouldn’t need to struggle any longer. Because of this, the giraffe, without stretching, attains the height of six feet! Automatically, when you look at the giraffe you notice something different about it. Im almost positive you were thinking about its long neck. The one to blame for this is evolution. The giraffe revolutionized itself to have an easier life. To not having to worry every time it wanted to eat some leaves from a high tree.

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<> Craig Holdrege, Fall;2003, April 12, 2012

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