An updated giraffe genome, published March 17, 2021 in Science Advances, reveals new insights into how the species accommodates a “blatantly strange body architecture.”
Bencze: Did the arterial network sprout long before the giraffe’s long neck evolved? Sadly evolution can’t look ahead to provide things that will be useful in the future, so no go.
Zoe Muller is right to wonder why researchers simply assumed that the giraffe lacked the wit for social skills without having studied the species much. It would be interesting to know if “evolutionary” assumptions underlay that view. Generally, such assumptions should be treated with caution. For example, “evolutionary” assumptions would not prompt researchers to believe that octopuses are as intelligent as they are.
If a big survey of the giraffe genome can’t tell us the answers to the most puzzling questions about one of the most remarkable animals, where should we look for answers next?