How many species of giraffe are there?

Fred B. Bercovitch*, Philip S.M. Berry, Anne Dagg, Francois Deacon, John B. Doherty, Derek E. Lee, Frédéric Mineur, Zoe Muller, Rob Ogden, Russell Seymour, Bryan Shorrocks, Andy Tutchings

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

Abstract

In a recent paper in Current Biology, Fennessy and colleagues [1] conclude that there are four species of giraffe and that their numbers are declining in Africa. Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) are presently classified as one species, with nine subspecies, which are considered ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List [2]. The present consensus of one species divided into nine subspecies has previously been questioned (Supplemental information), and Fennessy and colleagues [1] provide another viewpoint on giraffe taxonomy. The fundamental reason for different taxonomic interpretations is that they are based upon different datasets that adopt different statistical techniques and follow different criteria for nomenclature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R136-R137
JournalCurrent Biology
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2017

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