Washington D.C. [USA], Sept. 11 : A recent study has found out that giraffes actually are not one species, but four.
For comparison, the genetic differences among giraffe species are at least as great as those between polar and brown bears.
The unexpected findings highlight the urgent need for further study of the four genetically isolated species and for greater conservation efforts for the world's tallest mammal, the researchers said.
"We were extremely surprised, because the morphological and coat pattern differences between giraffe are limited," said researcher Axel Janke.
Giraffes are also assumed to have similar ecological requirements across their range, he added, "but no one really knows, because this megafauna has been largely overlooked by science."