Tag: Chris Basu

Chris is a PhD student at the Structure & Motion Laboratory, Royal Veterinary Collegbasue, London. He studies giraffes, and how locomotion has evolved throughout their evolutionary history. This gives him the good fortune to study the anatomy and function of both living giraffes, and the fossils from their extinct relatives. He has particular interests in 3D modelling, osseous pathology and allometric scaling. Chris is also a qualified vet, and regularly works in a small animal veterinary practice.

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Chris Basu, Structure and Motion Laboratory, Royal Veterinary College, London

Fossil focus: Giraffidae — where we’ve been and where we’re going

Fossil Focus
by Chris Basu1 Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) are charismatic and iconic animals. Together with their closest living relatives, okapis (Okapia johnstonii), they are remnants of an otherwise diverse group of even-toed ungulates - Giraffidae. Giraffids are ruminants (they have a specialized four-chambered stomach), and are related to other ruminant groups such as bovids (including cattle and antelopes), cervids (deer) and antilocaprids (pronghorns).  Ruminants use microbes in their stomachs to ferment and break down vegetation that would otherwise be impossible to digest. The origins of Giraffidae are hazy. DNA analysis confirms that they are a valid group, and that they diverged from other ruminants approximately 25 million years ago. This agrees with what is generally understood f...