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PLoS One. 2017 Sep 19;12(9):e0185139. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185139. eCollection 2017.

The earliest ossicone and post-cranial record of Giraffa.

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Department of Anatomy, New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, Old Westbury, NY, United States of America.
Department of Pediatrics, A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE, United States of America.
Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Peabody Museum, Harvard, Cambridge, MA, United States of America.
Department of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, United States of America.


The oldest Giraffa material presently known consists of dental specimens. The oldest post-cranial Giraffa material belongs to the Plio-Pleistocene taxon Giraffa sivalensis, where the holotype is a third cervical vertebra. We describe three non-dental specimens from the Early Late Miocene of the Potwar Plateau, including an 8.1 million year old ossicone, 9.4 million year old astragalus, and 8.9 million year old metatarsal and refer them to Giraffa. The described ossicone exhibits remarkable similarities with the ossicones of a juvenile modern giraffe, including the distribution of secondary bone growth, posterior curvature, and concave pitted undersurface where the ossicone would attach to the skull. The astragalus has a notably flat grove of the trochlea, medial twisting between the trochlea and the head, and a square-shaped sustentacular facet, all of which characterize the astragalus of Giraffa camelopardalis. The newly described astragalus is narrow and rectangular, unlike the boxy shaped bone of the modern giraffe. The metatarsal is large in size and has a shallow central trough created by thin medial and lateral ridges, a feature unique to Giraffa and Sivatherium. Our described material introduce the earliest non-dental material of Giraffa, a genus whose extinct representation is otherwise dominated by teeth, and demonstrate that the genus has been morphologically consistent over 9 million years.

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