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Paper Code  
Title   Sexual selection promotes giraffoid head-neck evolution and ecological adaptation
Authors   Shi-Qi Wang
Corresponding Author   Shi-Qi Wang,Tao Deng,Jin Meng
Year   2022
Title of Journal   Science
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Abstract  

The long neck of the giraffe has been held as a classic example of adaptive evolution since Darwin’s time. Here we report on an unusual fossil giraffoid, Discokeryx xiezhi, from the early Miocene, which has an unusual disk-shaped headgear and the most complicated head-neck joints in known mammals. The distinctive morphology and our finite element analyses indicate an adaptation for fierce head-butting behavior. Tooth enamel isotope data suggest that D. xiezhi occupied a niche different from that of other herbivores, comparable to the characteristic high-level browsing niche of modern giraffes. The study shows that giraffoids exhibit a higher headgear diversity than other ruminants and that living in specific ecological niches may have fostered various intraspecific combat behaviors that resulted in extreme head-neck morphologies in different giraffoid lineages. 

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Full Text Link   https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abl8316https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abl8316
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