A rather impressive discovery has been made in recent years: two dwarf giraffes have been spotted by researchers, one in Uganda and the other in Namibia. Scientists now explain that the small size of these animals is linked to disproportionate dwarfism.
In a study published December 30 in the BMC Research Notes, researchers from the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, who discovered the two smallest giraffes in the world a few years ago, offered an explanation for this phenomenon: it is developmental abnormalities of animal bones.
“These developmental aberrations are sometimes characterized by shortened and irregularly proportioned appendicular skeletal anatomy, resulting in what is commonly called disproportionate dwarfism,” the study explains.
In Uganda and Namibia
For the first time, a dwarf Nubian giraffe was seen by researchers in 2015 in Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda, the study says. The limbs of this male were disproportionate to the torso and neck. They then saw this same animal in 2016 and then in 2017. Another dwarf giraffe, male, was subsequently detected in Namibia in 2018.
While the metacarpal of a normal animal is 65.1 cm, that of the Ugandan giraffe is 37.6 cm, and that of the Namibian giraffe is 50.5 cm. In addition, the two animals have a radius much smaller than the average (72.17 cm): 52.35 cm for the giraffe detected in Uganda and 50.89 cm for that found in Namibia, details the study.