June 1, 2023

Giraffes’ necks have evolved to allow them to fight better

DECRYPTION – New fossils show that a long neck could be an advantage in terms of sexual competition.

Why do giraffes have such long necks? To be able to eat the leaves at the top of the trees? This is undoubtedly the most spontaneous answer to this question, and it is this hypothesis that the French naturalist Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck had himself put forward to explain the particular shape of the neck of the giraffe. But the question continues to divide specialists. Some are much more convinced by the “neck for sex” hypothesis, which holds that the neck of the giraffe has lengthened over the ages for reasons related to breeding selection. The discovery of bones of a very ancient cousin of the giraffe brings some additional arguments to Lamarck’s opponents.

Featured in the magazine Science on June 3, the work of a team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences describes in detail the anatomy of the head and neck of an ancestor of our current giraffe, unearthed in northern China. baptized Discokeryx xiezhithis species of giraffidae would have lived…

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