The writers of the study are proposing another theory for the origin of the long necks of the giraffes in this modern time. They say that giraffes needed their long necks while combatting and competing for their mates. They have supported this theory by an analysis of the fossil of an antique giraffe ancestor’s head and neck. That fossil included a disk-shaped helmet that protects the skull and the complex structure of head to neck joints.
The discussion on the long necks of the modern giraffes, which are the tallest and largest animal on earth, is a typical example being studied since Charles Darwin proposed his theory of adaptive evolution and natural selection. There is a popular belief that seeking food led to the long necks of the giraffes. With their long necks, they were able to reach the topmost leaves of Savanna woodlands, where the trees are taller and other species of animals were unable to reach their leaves.
Some other theories include the “Neck for sex” theory which proposes that the elongation of the necks may have been caused by the inter-male(any occurring between two or more males) competition-driven sexual selection. A scientist, Shi-Qi Wang, and his colleagues have claimed that some of the remains of extinct giraffes shed light on these evolutionary processes.
This scientist, Wang, and his co-workers have reported and described a fossil of a new species of Miocene Giroffoid, named “Discokeryx Xiezhi”. This fossil is dated roughly 17 million years ago. This fossil indicates that this ancient giraffoid had helmet like headgear and complex joints of the neck and head.
These particular characteristics of this fossil head of that giraffoid, according to the researchers, show that it was an adaptation for a serious and violent head-butting( a kind of head fighting) behaviour. The writer is suggesting that this giraffoid, whose fossil is under study, may had the most perfect head for the fiercest head butting neck elongation, which is identified in the vertebrate evolution.
Furthermore, other isotopic data from these fossils have suggested that the species had to fill a certain ecological role especially regarding food consumption in an ecosystem, which was unavailable to ordinary herbivores( those eating grass or shrubs or green plants).
Conclusively, the respective scientists suggested that evolution in the early and antique giraffoid is much more complex than the evolution taking place in the modern girafoid, studied previously. The evolution in early giraffoid the sexual combat like head-butting likely plays an important role in the elongation of their necks, beside the competition for food.
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