There Are More Giraffe Species Than You Think

A West African Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis peralta) peeks under an Acacia tree in the tiger bush near Koure, Niger. This area marks the northern range of their migration, which runs south to the Dosso Partial Reserve of the Niger River in the Dry season. (Credit: Roland H. / CC BY-SA 2.0.)
Figure 1A: Approximate geographic ranges, pelage patterns, and phylogenetic relationships between giraffe subspecies based on mtDNA sequences. Colored dots on the map represent sampling localities. The phylogenetic tree is a maximum-likelihood phylogram based on 1,707 base pairs of mtDNA sequence (1,143 nt of cytochrome b, 429 nt control region and 135 nt of tRNA) from 266 giraffes. Asterisks along branches correspond to node-support values of > 90% bootstrap support. Stars at branch tips identify paraphyletic haplotypes found in Masai and reticulated giraffes. KEY: red; Angolan giraffe, G. c. angolensis; blue; West African giraffe, G. c. peralta; green, Rothschildโ€™s giraffe, G. c. rothschildi; yellow, reticulated giraffe, G. c. reticulata; orange, Masai giraffe, G. c. tippelskirchi; pink, South African giraffe, G. c. giraffa.
Figure 1B: Minimum-spanning network of control region haplotypes using the molecular-variance parsimony algorithm, where circles represent haplotypes, numbers within them correspond to haplotype designations, and circle sizes are proportional to the haplotypeโ€™s frequency in the population. Branches represent a single nucleotide change and black squares represent multiple changes (indicated by adjacent numbers). Colors are coded as in Figure 1A (above).
Figure 2: Neighbor-joining network of allele-sharing distances (Ds) based on 14 microsatellite loci typed in 381 giraffes.
Adult female Masai giraffe (G. tippelskirchi), also known as the Kilimanjaro giraffe. (Credit: Bjรธrn Christian Tรธrrissen / CC BY-SA 3.0.)




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๐†๐ซ๐ซ๐ฅ๐’๐œ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ, scientist & writer

๐†๐ซ๐ซ๐ฅ๐’๐œ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ, scientist & writer

PhD evolutionary ecology/ornithology. Psittacophile. scicomm Forbes, previously Guardian. always Ravenclaw. discarded scientist & writer, now an angry house elf