Science and Tech
You Won't Guess Which of These Strange Science Pics Was Taken in Space

Marshall Lemon | 28 Nov 2014 17:00
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If you'd never seen an okapi before, you might assume somebody pasted together a zebra and a gazelle like some kind of cartoon animal. But this very real Central African creature is actually a close relative to the giraffe, standing at up to 6.6 feet high at the shoulder with 6-8 feet long bodies. (The small one in the video is a young calf.) Like giraffes, okapis have long legs and tongues which help them reach and strip leaves from trees, although their necks are much shorter.

In the 19th Century, Europeans sometimes called this creature the "African unicorn," since it was rarely seen but natives kept mentioning it. That's partly because okapi are solitary animals, living in secluded areas and rarely seen bonding with other okapi outside of their children. It wasn't until 1901, when okapi remains were sent to London, that this animal's existence was confirmed, sparking a significant media event.

Sadly, the okapi are considered an endangered species due to poaching and habitat destruction. Their population is estimated to be approximately 10,000, although given their secluded nature, perhaps there's a chance that others will be discovered.

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