The lonely life of the reclusive okapi

Why Evolution Is True

By Matthew Cobb

Okapis (Okapia johnstoni) are the closest living relative of the giraffe (their lineages separated about 16 million years ago). They live in the rainforest of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in central Africa. Although their bodies are brown, their legs are striped like a zebra’s. They first became known to science at the end of the 19th century.

An okapi mother and her calf in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in DRC. Taken from here.

These animals browse on plants growing in gaps in the forest caused by tree fall – this means that their food is relatively sparsely and randomly distributed around the forest. The precise number of okapis in the wild is unknown (figures vary between 10-50,000), but the overall trend is downwards (an estimated 50% decline in the last three generations). They are already extinct in neighbouring Uganda. As a result…

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About marksolock

I am a lawyer in Chicago with interests in pop culture and current politics.
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