In general form, so far as can be judged from the disarticulated skeleton, the okapi was more like an antelope than a giraffe, the fore and hind cannon-bones, and consequently the entire limbs, being of approximately equal length.
OKAPI, the native name of an African ruminant mammal (Ocapia johnstoni), belonging to the Giraffidae, or giraffe-family, but distinguished from giraffes by its shorter limbs and neck, the absence of horns in the females, and its very remarkable type of colouring.
As regards its general characters, the skull of the okapi appears to be intermediate between that of the giraffe on the one hand and that of the extinct Palaeotragus (or Samotherium) of the Lower Pliocene deposits of southern Europe on the other.
When first entered by white men the Transvaal abounded in big game, the lion, leopard, elephant, giraffe, zebra and rhinoceros being very numerous, while the hippopotamus and crocodile were found in all the rivers.
In the Asiatic muntjac deer we find a pair of skin-covered horns, or " pedicles," corresponding to the paired horns of the giraffe, although welded to the skull.
The lion, rhinoceros, giraffe) driven beyond the confines of the Cape.
One hastens to southern Africa to chase the giraffe; but surely that is not the game he would be after.
Gadow is of opinion that the antlers of the deer, the hornlike protuberances on the skull of the giraffe, and the true horns of the prongbuck and other hollow-horned ruminants (Bovidae) are all different stages of evolution from a single common type: the antlers of the deer being the most primitive, and the horns of the Bovidae the most specialized.
In addition to the above there is an extraordinary North American Miocene giraffe-necked camel (Alticamelus), a creature of the size of a giraffe, with similarly elongated neck and limbs, and evidently adapted for browsing on trees.
The native fauna was formerly very rich in big game, a fact sufficiently testified by the names given by the early European settlers to mountains and streams. The lion, elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, giraffe, buffalo, quagga, zebra and other large animals were, however, during the 18th and 19th centuries driven out of the more southern regions (though a few elephants and buffaloes,.
The antelopes include the beisa oryx, fairly common and widely distributed; the greater and lesser kudu (the greater kudu is not found on the Ogaden plateau); the Somali hartebeest (Bubalis Swaynei), found only in the Haud and Ogo districts; waterbuck, rare except along the Webi Shebeli and the Nogal; the dol or Somali bushbuck; the dibatag or Clarke's gazelle; the giraffe-like gerenuk or Waller's gazelle, very common; the aoul or Soemmering's gazelle, widely distributed; the dero (Gazella Speki); and the small dikdik or sakaro antelope, found in almost every thicket.
The group at the present day is divided into Girafjidae (giraffe and okapi), Cervidae (deer), Antilocapridae (prongbuck), and Bovidae (oxen, sheep, goats, antelopes, &c.).
Characteristic are the giraffe, the chimpanzee and the ostrich.
From this it seems probable that Palaeotragus and Ocapia indicate the ancestral type of the giraffe-line; while it has been further suggested that the apparently hornless Helladotherium of the Female Okapi.
The animals of Nigeria include the elephant, lion, leopard, giraffe, hyena, West-African buffalo, many kinds of antelope and gazelle and smaller game.
The simplest type is that of the giraffe, in which three bony prominences - a single one in front and a pair behind - quite separate from the underlying bones and covered during life with skin, occupy the front surface of the skull.
The third type of horn is presented by the American prongbuck, or pronghorn, in which bony processes, or " cores," corresponding to the horns of the giraffe, have acquired a horny sheath, in place of skin; the sheath being in this instance forked, and annually shed and renewed, although the core is simple.
From the fact that the bony horn-core of the hollow-horned ruminants first develops as a separate ossification, as do the horns of the giraffe, while the pedicle of the antlers of the deer grow direct from the frontal bone, it has been proposed to place the hollow-horned ruminants (inclusive of the prongbuck) and the giraffes in one group and the deer in another.
Remains of extinct species of giraffe occur in the Lower Pliocene formations of Greece, Hungary, Persia, Northern India and China.
Unlike the giraffe, the length of the limbs is due to the elongation of their upper segments, and that of the neck to the lengthening of only the hinder vertebrae.
The fauna includes the lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, buffalo, zebra, kudu and many other kinds of antelope, wild pig, ostrich and crocodile.
Neither did the giraffe acquire its long neck by desiring to reach the foliage of more lofty shrubs, and constantly stretching its neck for the purpose, but because any varieties which occurred among its antitypes with a longer neck than usual at once secured a fresh range of pasture over the same ground as their shorter-necked companions, and on the first scarcity of food were thereby enabled to outlive them."
The open savannas are the home of large ungulates, especially antelopes, the giraffe (peculiar to Africa), zebra, buffalo, wild ass and four species of rhinoceros; and of carnivores, such as the lion, leopard, hyaena, &c. The okapi (a genus restricted to Africa) is found only in the dense forests of the Congo basin.
The lion, leopard, giraffe and various kinds of antelope are found in the prairies and in the open woods.
The fauna includes the elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah, roan-antelope, hartebeeste, kudu and many other kinds of antelope, wart-hog, hares, quail, partridge, jungle-fowl, bustard and guinea-fowl.
The giraffe is found in the western districts, the zebra and wild ass frequent the lower plateaus and the rocky hills of the north.