Being one of the tallest in the animal kingdom is the giraffe’s competitive advantage, giving it the pick of leaves from the tallest trees, so scientists were stunned to find two giraffe dwarves on different sides of the African continent.
Julian Fennessy, co-founder of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, said, “It’s fascinating what our researchers out in the field found. We were very surprised.”
Most giraffes grow to 4.5 to 6 meters, but in 2018, scientists working with the foundation discovered a 2.6-meter-tall giraffe in Namibia. Three years earlier, they had found a 2.8-meter-tall giraffe in a Ugandan wildlife park.
They published their findings in the British Medical Journal at the end of last month.
In both cases, the giraffes had the standard long necks but short, stumpy legs, the paper said. Skeletal dysplasia, the medical name for the condition, affects humans and domesticated animals, but the paper said it was rare to see in wild animals.