By coincidence, this weekend we found ourselves in the company of a beautiful Giraffa camelopardalis, seen below laid out on a rug on the kitchen floor. Here are a few photos. *Photos may contain cats.*
This really nicely illustrates the striking differences in the vertebral units. C1 is labeled. Just count back from there, so we have C1 C2 C3 and a bit of C4. Click on photos to enlarge.
Looking at the first two vertebrae (known as the atlas and axis), you can see that they look different to the others. Their unique shape is related to their special function of supporting the head.
Compare them to C3 and C4 (and a bit of C5) pictured here. These two look quite similar to each other. This is the general appearance of the repeating series C3-C6.
One of the mysterious finds were the bones we’ve labelled as ‘Hyoid’ in the main image. We’re assuming they’re hyoid bones due to their slender shape. Any further advances on this are welcome.
The ossicones in the main picture are one of the defining giraffid features, shared now only by living giraffe and okapi.
Another defining feature of giraffids is the distinctive bilobed canine tooth (below). Again, giraffe share this trait with okapi.
When you look closer at of the mandibles, you can also see that this giraffe was close to shedding the deciduous (juvenile) teeth. The adult teeth are just creeping up below them.