Earth had extra giraffe species all along

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Earth boasts four separate species of giraffe, not one, as scientists formerly believed, according to new research. To untangle the giraffe lineage, researchers analyzed DNA from giraffes across Africa, including all nine purported subspecies. The animals clustered genetically into four distinct groups, some of which were as different from each other as polar bears are from brown bears, the researchers told the New York Times. The study, recently published in Current Biology, proposes dividing the long-necked tribe into northern giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis), southern giraffes (G. giraffa), Masai giraffes (Giraffa tippelskirchi) and reticulated giraffes (G. reticulata). This system would split the animals’ declining populations across multiple species, potentially raising new conservation concerns. Read more about these findings in the New York Times.