World Wednesday: Baby giraffe’s spots say it all


By Adam Jenkins [CC BY 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

A female Somali Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) with calf at the Monarto Zoological Park in South Australia.

Isabella Kanzius, Deputy News Editor

As many species as there are in Africa, one species sticks out the most. It is not just because of their six-foot-long necks or their six-foot-long legs.

The giraffe sticks out thanks to its unique spots. These spots on the giraffe are inherited from its mother.

A giraffe’s spots can be compared to its mother’s spots in two ways: The first way is to see if the roundness is similar or the same. The second way is to see if the borders of the spots are smooth.

The spots are more than just a physical characteristic; in fact, scientists can see from the splotches’ sizes and shapes that they may determine the chances of the calf’s survival. The bigger the splotches are, the higher the survival rate will be for the calf.

The spots also are useful for other reasons. The giraffe’s spots determine which species it belongs to and help other giraffes see that as well.

Also, the spots help the animal to regulate its temperature. Its spots can act as camouflage depending upon the pattern of spots.

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