From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Temporal range: Miocene to Pliocene
Samotherium boissieri.JPG
Samotherium boissieri skull
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Giraffidae
Genus: Samotherium
  • S. africanum
  • S. boissieri
  • ?S. major
  • S. neumayri
  • ?S. sinense

Samotherium is an extinct genus of giraffe from the Miocene and Pliocene of Eurasia and Africa. Samotherium had two ossicones on its head, and long legs. The ossicones usually pointed upward, and were curved backwards, with males having larger, more curved ossicones, though, in the Chinese species, S. sinense, the straight ossicones point laterally, not upwards. The genus is closely related to Shansitherium.

According to biologist Richard Ellis, the skull of a Samotherium is portrayed on an ancient Greek vase as a monster that Heracles is fighting.[1]

Samotherium major (middle) in comparison with the okapi (below) and giraffe. The anatomy of Samotherium appears to have shown a transition to a giraffe-like neck.
?S. major and S. boissieri


The genus name translates as "Beast of Samos," to commemorate where the first fossils were found.


  1. ^ Ellis, Richard (2004). No Turning Back: The Life and Death of Animal Species. New York: Harper Perennial. p. 6. ISBN 0-06-055804-0.