Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at 12:45PM
Drew Wolfe

Giraffes Inherit Spot Patterns From Their Mamas, Study Says

"The mottled spots giraffes are known for aren't random, according to a new study that suggests that the patterns are inherited maternally — and that they may impact the chances of a calf surviving its first few months of life."

"The roundness and smoothness of a giraffe's spots are inherited through its mother, wildlife biology researchers reported in the academic journal PeerJ last week."

"Giraffe coat markings are more complex and variable than the eye suggests: The researchers studied 11 spot attributes in total. The researchers did not document any mother-offspring similarity between the number of spots and their area and perimeter."

"The study has produced the first data of its kind. Scientists have previously hypothesized that variation in spot patterns may camouflage newborns against predators and that the animals' spots are conferred at random. One prominent biologist, Anne Dagg, described similarities between parents and offspring in a zoo population in 1968, but analysis and objective measurements of spot characteristics were lacking in wild giraffes until now."


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