Giraffes Can’t Just Have Long Necks for Fighting, Not Just Food


Headbanging is an old and common form of conflict resolution. like dinosaurs Pachycephalosaurus they had solid skulls, and it remains common to strike heads in bighorn sheep, chameleons, and even whales.

However, researchers have suggested that Discokeryx was uniquely adept at head-to-head combat. The team scanned and three-dimensionally reconstructed Discokeryx’s skull and neck. They then compared it to modern head oilers: musk ox, argali mountain sheep, and Himalayan blue sheep. Using computer models, they concluded that the skull of Discokeryx absorbs more impact and cushions its brain better than its modern counterparts. The team estimated that collisions between Discokeryxes were probably twice as intense as musk oxen crashing into each other at around 25 miles per hour.

According to the researchers, the array of interlocking neck joints has yet to be discovered in any other vertebrate, living or dead, and provides Discokeryx with the most optimized head-banging equipment ever discovered. Dr. “This animal is an extreme example of using the headshot as a fighting tool,” Meng said.

Nikos Solounias, a paleontologist at the New York Institute of Technology who studies giraffe evolution and wasn’t involved in the new study, says that while the new fossil’s biomechanics are interesting, their heads down isn’t particularly surprising. Almost all modern hoofed mammals use their heads for combat, including modern giraffes. But their fierce fighting style It’s very different from the one Discokeryx duels. Dr. By rubbing against each other with their bony, horn-like bones of bone, the giraffes “hit the sides with their heads and necks” rather than going head-to-head, Solounias said.

Although it seems that some oldest giraffe relatives They still had a special diet, just as Discokeryx was built for fighting rather than foraging. Although they couldn’t reach the treetops, chemical analyzes of Discokeryx’s teeth revealed that the ancestral giraffe occupied a distinct ecological niche.

Dr. Wang believes the ancestral giraffes’ propensity to fight eventually helped them search for food toward the sky.

“As the males used their necks for fiercer and more violent fights and their necks got longer, they were eventually able to reach the longest leaves,” he said.


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