The Masai Giraffe is also thought to be composed of two species separated by the Rift Valley. The Reticulated and Masai giraffes were found to have the highest mtDNA diversity, suitable for giraffes native to eastern Africa. Populations further north are more closely related to the former, while those further south are more closely related to the latter.
Giraffes seem to choose mates with the same feathers, they are imprinted on them as calves. A 2011 study using detailed morphological analysis of giraffes and application of the phylogenetic concept described eight living giraffe species. A 2016 study also concluded that live giraffes consist of many species. Researchers believe that, in existence of four species, they have not exchanged genetic information between each other for 1 to 2 million years. Since then, a response to this publication has been published, raising seven issues in the interpretation of the data, and concluding “conclusions should not be unconditionally accepted”.
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