25th November 2019

newscientist
18

How did the giraffe develop such a long neck?

Most people assume that giraffes' long necks evolved to help them feed. If you have a long neck, runs the argument, you can eat leaves on tall trees that your rivals can't reach. But there is another possibility. The prodigious necks may have little to do with food, and everything to do with sex.

In respect to this, why do giraffes have such long eyelashes?

Of course, keep in mind that since birds don't have hair, these amazing 'eyelashes' are actually modified feathers. Long necks, long lashes … everything about giraffes is OTT. The eyelashes are also great at keeping pesky ants out of the giraffes' eyes and sensing the thorns on their favourite acacia trees.

What did the giraffe evolve from?

Some scientists have long presumed today's giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis, right), which includes a handful of subspecies scattered throughout sub-Saharan Africa, evolved from an animal that looked like its close cousin the okapi (Okapia johnstoni, left), which lives in the tropical forests of central Africa.

How long is the neck of a giraffe?

A giraffe's 6-foot (1.8-meter) neck weighs about 600 pounds (272 kilograms). The legs of a giraffe are also 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. The back legs look shorter than the front legs, but they are about the same length.
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