June 25, 2022


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Discover a 'giraffe' fossil that resembles a Chinese legend! Hint that the modern giraffe had developed its neck for a long time - Nazology

Discover a ‘giraffe’ fossil that resembles a Chinese legend! Hint that the modern giraffe had developed its neck for a long time – Nazology

The top of the head was a “disc-shaped shield”

this isfossilteeth,China“In the northwest Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous RegionJunggar Basin(Jonggar Basin) “has been discovered.

The skull, including the teeth, and the four cervical vertebrae (neck bones) that connect to the spine were recovered.

The upper part of the skull is a shield shaped like a disk
The upper part of the skull is a shield in the form of a disk / stock: Science Magazine (YouTube, 2022)

From the analysis of teeth and bones, this creature“being alivegirafferelativesIt turns out to be.

However, it is not a direct ancestor of the giraffe, but belongs to another subspecies of giraffes. (By the way, there are only two types of giraffes living today, the giraffes and the okapis.)

The research team gave the scientific name of this organism“Discokeryx xiezhi”I named it.

Disco is a “disc,” Kelix is ​​a “horn,” and Siegy is the legendary Chinese rhinoceros.Xiezhimeans.

D. Siegy appeared about 17 million years ago, and modern giraffes appeared about 5 million years ago.
Seiji appeared about 17 million years ago, the modern giraffe about 5 million years ago / Credit: SHI-QI WANG et al., Science (2022)

As a result of examining the shape of the teeth and the isotopes in the enamel, Dr. SijiIt was an animal that ate grass in open ground and changed its habitat according to the season.He concluded that.

Also, given the size of the fossil,The body size is the same as the size of modern sheepwas appreciated.

Did the giraffe’s long neck evolve through ‘breeding competition’?

On the other hand, the upper part of the head takes the form of a helmet in the form of a disk, and the bones of the neck are very thick and durable.

The disc portion is the same bone component of a head butchered animal as a bull.Protective layer of “keratin”It was covered.

This is dAdapting to the intense head impact, the competing males head-butted each otherindicates that.

picture of d.  Seiji hitting his head
picture of d. Seiji hits his head / Credit: Science Magazine (YouTube, 2022)

According to the research team, head-butting traits among males are chosen for sexual reasons surrounding females.

for this reason,The seiji’s disc-shaped skull and short, thick neck also evolved in the female breeding line.I can think of it.

The team believes this theory also applies to modern giraffes.

In other words, the long neck of the giraffe evolved because it is useful for collision between males and females.

The prevailing hypothesis that has persisted since Darwin’s time has been that “a long neck was chosen because it was useful for obtaining upper food.”

Sure, giraffes benefit from the length of their necks to eat taller plants, but on the other hand, they are.The “neck” where the males close their long necks to the femalesThe behavior is known.

For this reason, in recent years, the theory that “the long neck of the giraffe evolved due to competition for reproduction” has gradually become influential.

In other words, it is possible that the ancestors of animals called giraffes had a habit of hitting their heads to fight and reproduce, which encouraged evolution in a direction favorable for this fight, like a disc-shaped skull and a long neck. he is.

At some point in evolution, it may have been the modern giraffe whose long-necked males gained the upper hand in the battle of the females, and their reproductive success led to the inheritance of long-necked offspring. ..

Dr..  Picture of the ecosystem of
Dr.. Photo of the ecosystem in the “Jonggar Basin” when Seiji was alive / Image source: Science Magazine (YouTube, 2022)

Although it has not been established what is true with Darwin’s theory, the results of this study by Dr. Siji supports evolution through reproductive competition.

At the same time, the research team said, “It is very likely that the giraffe’s maximum neck length was formed by evolutionary pressures to some extent.”

Through further excavation and research of the fossils of the giraffe family, it will become clear why modern giraffes appeared as they are today.

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