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Family - Giraffidae

(Giraffe and Okapi)

The giraffids are artiodactyl mammals that share a common ancestor with deer and bovids. The biological family Giraffidae, once a diverse group spread throughout Eurasia and Africa, contains only two living members, the giraffe and the okapi. The two species look very different on first sight, but share a number of common features, including a long, dark-colored tongue, lobed canine teeth, and horns covered in skin, called "ossicones".


Giraffids share many common features with other ruminants. They have cloven hooves like bovids, and a complex, four-chambered stomach. They have no upper incisors or canines, replacing them with a tough, horny pad. There is an especially long gap between the front and cheek teeth. The cheek teeth are adapted for grinding up tough plant matter.


Author: Mary K



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