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Related to Giraffidae: Giraffa, Antilocapridae, Moschidae


(vertebrate zoology)
A family of pecoran ruminants in the superfamily Bovoidea including giraffe, okapi, and relatives.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a family of ruminant mammals of the order Artiodactyla. There are two genera: Giraffa and Okapi. The genus Giraffa consists of a single species, the common giraffe.

The common giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is a large animal with a short trunk on long legs (the front legs are longer than the hind ones). Height at withers, approximately 3.7 m. The neck is long, and the head is small with tiny skin-covered horns. Weight, 550–800 kg; height, 5–6 m. The main body color is light yellow with dark variegated cinnamon brown spots. The coat pattern varies from one part of its range to another; this is the basis for distinguishing several subspecies.

The giraffe is found in Africa where it lives in open steppes (savannas) with sparse trees and shrubs. Giraffes stay in small herds of 12–15 individuals (sometimes as many as 70). They feed mainly on the leaves and branches of various acacias.

Gestation is about 14 months; one young is usually produced at birth. Giraffe meat is used for food and its hide for making various articles. Giraffes have been largely exterminated by hunting; they have disappeared entirely in some parts of Africa. They are preserved primarily in national parks.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Progiraffa (Artiodactyla: Ruminantia: Giraffidae) from the lower Siwalik Subgroup (Miocene) of Pakistan.
Sivatherium (Artiodactyla, Ruminantia, Giraffidae) from the Upper Siwaliks, Pakistan.
Bovidae et Giraffidae (Artiodactyla, Mammalia) du Pleistocene de Ternifine (Algerie).
Pliocene Giraffidae (Mammalia) from the Hadar Formation of Hadar and Ledi-Geraru, Lower Awash, Ethiopia.
Individual variations in some premolars of species Giraffokeryx punjabiensis (Mammalia, Giraffidae) from Lower Siwalik (Chinji Formation) of Pakistan.
Bramatherium (Artiodactyla, Ruminantia, Giraffidae) from the Middle Siwaliks of Hasnot, Pakistan: biostratigraphy and palaeoecology.
Individual variations in some premolars of species Giraffokeryx punjabiensis (Mammalia Giraffidae) from Lower Siwalik (Chinji Formation) of Pakistan.
Order ARTIODACTYLA Owen 1848 Suborder RUMINANTIA Scopoli 1777 Infraorder PECORA Linnaeus 1758 Superfamily GIRAFFOIDEA Gray 1821 Family GIRAFFIDAE Gray 1821 Subfamily GIRAFFOKERYCINAE Solounias 2007 Genus GIRAFFOKERYX Pilgrim 1910
The great variety found in the Pliocene Asiatic forms shows the rapidity of evolution in the family giraffidae. The Siwalik giraffes may be placed in three subfamilies i.e.
A Bramatherium skull (Giraffidae, Mammalia) from the late miocene of Kavakdere (Central Turkey).
Giraffa punjabiensis (Giraffidae: Mammalia) from Middle Siwaliks of Pakistan.
Today Giraffidae are represented by two extant genera Giraffa (four species) and Okapia (one species) found only in Africa (Solounias et al., 2000; Groves and Grubb, 2011).