Giraffe is now four species

  1. Vladimir Dinets 6 years ago

    This is not the first such paper, and it has the same problem as all previous ones: not all subspecies have been sampled. I don’t know why they didn’t sample them all; the missing subspecies are available in captivity. It’s been clear for decades that the 3 subspecies present in Kenya behave like full species; I also suspect that the extreme difference between Maasai and reticulated giraffes is due to character displacement. So it is still unclear how many species are there, and how many subspecies. I think it’s pretty safe to split giraffes into four species at this point, but it remains to be seen if there’s more.

  2. Vladimir Dinets 6 years ago

    Since my previous comments have disappeared, here’s a summary.
    1. Sorry, I first looked at a wrong paper. The new one provides sufficient evidence for a 4-way split. I already updated my checklist 🙂
    2. But I don’t think they provide sufficient evidence for lumping of some subspecies, and I find the idea of “killing” subspecies that are clearly separate morphologically based on genetic data to be fundamentally flawed and dangerous.

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