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.
Again, in Palaeotragus the horns (present only in the male) are situated immediately over the eye-sockets, in Ocapia they are placed just behind the latter, while in Giraffa they are partly on the parietals.
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.
In the Giraffidae, which include not only giraffes (Giraffa) but also the okapi (Ocapia) and a number of extinct species from the Lower Pliocene Tertiary deposits of southern Europe, Asia and North Africa, the appendages on the skull are of type No.
The okapi (Ocapia), which is also African but restricted to the tropical forest-region, in place of being an inhabitant of more or less open country, represents a second genus, characterized by the shorter neck and limbs, the totally different type of colouring, and the restriction of the horns to the male sex, in which they form a pair on the forehead; these horns being more compressed than FIG.
From deposits of the same age in Greece, Samos and elsewhere have been obtained skulls and other remains of Palaeotragus or Samotherium, a ruminant closely allied to Ocapia, the males of which were armed with a very similar pair of dagger-shaped horns.
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