Despite what was previously thought, the giraffe isn’t a singular type of animal. According to a new study by Alex Janke and colleagues, giraffes are actually made up of four species. To discover this, samples were taken from 190 different giraffes across Africa. When tested, they were "about as genetically diverse as a polar bear is from a black bear." The giraffes have been categorized into four new species: the southern, Masai, reticulated, and northern giraffes.
This may seem to be nothing more than an interesting addition to the wide world of science, but it has some unfortunate effects. As separate species, these giraffes cannot interbreed. This could cause harm to the giraffe population, putting them in danger of extinction. What we thought was once a large population of 80,000 is split four uneven ways. The northern and reticulated giraffe both have population numbers in the thousands. Hopefully, this discovery will renew conservation efforts and encourage the investigation of this vastly understudied animal, and all four species of giraffe will live to see another day.
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/there-are-four-giraffe-species-not-just-one-180960411/#BvRigST2emhBCDHS.99
Author: Reau Autera
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