The Cervical Osteology of Okapia johnstoni and Giraffa camelopardalisReport as inadecuate




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Giraffidae is the only family of ruminants that is represented by two extant species; Okapia johnstoni and Giraffa camelopardalis. Of these taxa, O. johnstoni represents a typical short-necked ungulate, and G. camelopardalis exemplifies the most extreme cervical elongation seen in any ruminant. We utilize these two species to provide a comprehensive anatomic description of the cervical vertebrae. In addition, we compare the serial morphologic characteristics of the okapi and giraffe cervical vertebrae, and report on several osteologic differences seen between the two taxa. The giraffe neck appears to exhibit homogenization of C3-C7; the position of the dorsal tubercle, thickness of the cranial articular process, shape of the ventral vertebral body, and orientation of the ventral tubercle are constant throughout these vertebrae, whereas these features are serially variable in the okapi. We also report on several specializations of the giraffe C7, which we believe relates to an atypical cervico-thoracic junction, corresponding to the substantial neck lengthening. The morphologic differences exhibited between the okapi and giraffe cervical vertebrae have implications on the function of the necks relating to both fighting and feeding.



Author: Melinda Danowitz , Nikos Solounias

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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