HOW DID THE GIRAFFE GET ITS LONG NECK? The question of how the giraffe got its long neck reminds me of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So stories from when I was very young—how the leopard got its spots and how the camel got its hump. The story that I remember best tells how the elephant got his trunk (it involved crocodiles). I just checked and Kipling never took on the question of the giraffe’s neck.
Laura Geggel had an article in the Washington Post (November 30) about the discovery of the remains of a creature with an “intermediate neck”, exactly midway in length between the neck of the modern giraffe and the neck of its only modern relative, the okapi. Geggel says: “Researchers are calling the remains of this ancient beast true â€œtransitionalâ€ fossils, not only closing an evolutionary gap in the rise of Earthâ€™s tallest animals but also providing concrete evidence of how one creature evolved into another.”