Scientists discovered a dwarf giraffe named Gimli

Virgin Radio

7 Jan 2021, 17:58

He may be smaller than his relatives but Gimli is confounding scientists and stealing hearts.

Your average giraffe stands at around 16 feet tall, making them the tallest mammals on Earth.

Michael Brown is a conservation science fellow with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. He and his colleagues couldn't believe their eyes when they found a Nubian giraffe in Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park in 2015 that was just 9 feet, 4 inches tall.

“The initial reaction was disbelief,” Dr. Brown said.

(Pic: Michael Brown)

Gimli the giraffe has the usual long neck, but his legs aren't. The scientists said it looked like someone had put a giraffe’s head and neck on a horse’s body.

In 2018, an 8-1/2-foot-tall Angolan giraffe they called Nigel was found living on a private farm in central Namibia. The researchers have one explanation, the giraffes have dwarfism.

The discovery was published last month in the journal BMC Research Notes. It has allowed scientists to study the effects of dwarfism on wild animals roaming free.

When the pictures first came out, people assumed they'd been edited or digitally altered. David O’Connor, president of Save Giraffes Now and member of the IUCN Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group said:  “I didn’t believe it at first. I thought it was photoshopped, to be honest.”