Samotherium

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Samotherium
Temporal range: Miocene to Pliocene
Samotherium boissieri.JPG
Samotherium boissieri skull
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Giraffidae
Genus: Samotherium
Species
  • S. africanum Churcher, 1970
  • S. boissieri Forsyth-Major, 1889 (type)
  • S. major Bohlin, 1926
  • S. neumayri Rodler and Weithofer, 1890
  • S. sinense Bohlin, 1926

Samotherium ("beast of Samos") is an extinct genus of Giraffidae 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 and [Adrienne Mayor] in "The First Fossil Hunters", the skull of a Samotherium is portrayed on an ancient Greek vase as a monster that Heracles is fighting.[1]

Description[edit]

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

A 2015 study found that Samotherium had a neck intermediate in length between the giraffe and the okapi, judging from examination of specimens of S. major from Greece.[2]

References[edit]

  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. 
  2. ^ http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/2/11/150521