Giraffes are the largest animals in the world. The average height is between 4 and 6 meters. These mammals can weigh more than a ton. So scientists were surprised to see an eight-foot-tall adult giraffe … and then another. What was the secret of the dwarf giraffe?
Science revealed the reason for the unusual size of two dwarf giraffes. It is extremely rare that they were about half the size of a normal giraffe. The first of these two giraffes was first seen in 2015 in Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda. He was given the name Gimli in reference to the dwarf in the trilogy Lord of the Rings. The sighting left the scientists confused as it was only eight feet tall.
In 2018, scientists observed another similar animal, but one that is even smaller. The giraffe named Nigel has been spotted on a private farm in central Namibia. It measured only 2.60 meters, the examination details.
The proportions of these giraffes were examined by comparing them with other specimens of similar age. The researchers have revealed the secret of the dwarf giraffes: Gimli and Nigel suffer from skeletal dysplasia. That is, abnormal bone development that led to dwarfism.
First wild animals
The condition has not only been observed in humans, but also in pets. For example dogs, pigs and cows. However, it’s rarely seen in wild animals, Live Science pointed out. Gimli and Nigel are the first dwarf giraffes ever reported.
Short stature can seriously affect the life of these animals and even make it easier for them to prey. Gimli and Nigel lack the ability to run and kick effectively. These are two of the giraffe’s most effective anti-predator tactics, “explained Brown.
In addition, the size of these two specimens could make breeding difficult or impossible. Both Gimli and Nigel are male animals, which makes mating difficult as it is almost impossible for them to mount female giraffes.