Sivatherium: A giraffe with a trunk?
A giraffe, photographed at the Bronx zoo.
For me, no visit to the zoo is complete without stopping by to see the giraffes. They are among the most common of zoo animals, certainly, but I still find them fascinating. If giraffes did not actually exist and someone drew an illustration of one as a speculative zoology project the picture would likely be written off as absurd, yet the living animal is more charming than preposterous.
As with many extant large mammals, though, the giraffe is only a vestige of a once more diverse group. Its closest living relative is the okapi, a short-necked and forest-dwelling giraffe of the Congo, but many other types of giraffe lived in the