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Evolution of the Giraffe


THE mode of evolution in the giraffe has been a favourite subject for discussion, Darwin1 wrote “… it has been supposed that all the parts must have been simultaneously modified; and it has been argued that, on the principle of natural selection, this is scarcely possible … but it cannot be denied that an animal might have its neck, or head, or tongue, or forelimbs elongated a very little without any corresponding modification in other parts of the body”, Graham Cannon2, very properly I consider., rejects this, concluding: “It is this idea of co-ordinated variation that is, to my mind, the central core of the whole problem of evolution”


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  2. Cannon, H. Graham, The Evolution of Living Things, 112 (Manchester Univ. Press, 1958).

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  3. Himmelfarb, Gertrude, Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, 278 (Chatto and Windus, 1959).

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  4. Schreider, E., Nature, 165, 286 (1950).

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  5. Darwin, C., The Origin of Species, 166 (John Murray, 1910).

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BROWNLEE, A. Evolution of the Giraffe. Nature 200, 1022 (1963).

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