A strange and rare relative of the giraffe current was discovered in China. With the scientific name of Discokeryx xiezhi, It lived 17 million years ago and had a short neck and a protective shell (like a helmet) on its skull.
Precisely that armor would have served him to protect his territory and have head-butting battles with his rivals.
The disc-shaped bony shield on top of their skull, covered in a protective layer of keratin, the same type of tissue found on the horns of heads like bulls and rams. The hard drive resembled a kind of squat helmet that sat on the animal’s head, scientists reported in a new analysis of several fossils of d.xiezhipublished on June 2 in the magazine Science.
Robert Simmons, an honorary research associate at the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town, spoke about the characteristics of this prehistoric giraffe and its struggles, especially over sex.
«[Los investigadores] have provided unequivocal evidence that the fossil by Discokeryx it’s beautifully adapted to intense head-on collisions,” he says.
Based on the sizes of all the fossils, the team believes that d.xiezhi it was about as tall as a modern sheep and had a neck of similar length to other land mammals of comparable size. And based on analysis of the fossilized bones and teeth, the team determined that this robust, extinct animal, while related to today’s towering giraffes, is not a direct ancestor of living giraffes.