Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Okapi: an UNphotoshopped animal

Nature can be really surprising!
Ladies and Gentlemen here is the amazing okapi!
It lives in central Africa (=Congo) and it is amazing for at least of a couple of reasons:

1) It looks like a photoshopped animal, doesn't it?
I would say the combination of a giraffe and a zebra!






2) It is a kind of living fossil!
Indeed it the closest relative of the prehistoric giraffes - the palaetragines - even closer than the giraffe! Basically when the palaestragines were roaming the earth (15 millions years ago), evolution favoured the ones who could reach tall trees. The descendants of those palaetragines are the nowadays giraffes, well suited for munching leaves from the acacia trees that grew across the plains of Africa. However some palaestragines moved into the forest and where they had never to change much to survive. The okapi is the descendant of them, a very close descendant.

PS
Since it lives in Congo, the Okapi is on the 50 cents Congolese banknote:








References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okapi
Why is the okapi is called a living fossil
http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/news-10-amazing-living-fossils

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