R. M. Sánchez Et Al., PLOS ONE 2017/CC BY 4.0

Giraffe ancestor didn’t have a long neck, but two sets of horns

Ten years of excavation at a dig site an hour south of Madrid revealed the nearly complete fossil of a newly identified giraffe ancestor species, scientists reported Wednesday in PLOS ONE. Looking more like a moose, the 9-million-year old ancestor lacks the familiar long neck of modern giraffes, The New York Times reported. Instead, the most distinguishing feature of the new species is the presence of two sets of bony protrusions, or ossicones, on the top of the head on both males and females. That means ossicones may not have evolved as a courtship strategy—helping males vie for female attention—as scientists thought.

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