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Here's How the Giraffe Got Its Long Neck (Infographic)

Chart of evolution of the giraffe.
An ancestor of the giraffe split into two evolutionary branches, one leading to the okapi with its short neck and the other branch leading to the giraffes. (Image credit: by Karl Tate, Infographics Artist)

By 16 million years ago, the neck of the common ancestor of the okapi and the giraffe had elongated compared with its predecessors. More recently, the evolutionary tree split into two branches. The branch that results in the okapi has animals with necks that get shorter, while the giraffe branch has animals with progressively longer necks.