Giraffes have been misunderstood, reports Katie Hunt, and have social lives as deep as elephants. Far from the aloof and preening creatures of past understanding, they have cooperative social systems, matrilineal societies and elaborate systems of communication that we had no idea existed.
"The most surprising thing for me is that it has taken until 2021 to recognize that giraffes have a complex social system. We have known for decades about other species of socially complex mammal, such as elephants, primates and cetaceans, but it is baffling to me how such a charismatic and well-known species as the giraffe could have been so understudied until recently," said Zoe Muller, study author and biologist at the University Of Bristol's School of Biological Sciences.In their review of 404 papers, researchers found that giraffes appear to have a matrilineal society.
They are in the "grandmother hypothesis" club of animals that survive long enough to help raise multigenerational offspring, alongside orcas, elephants and primates.
"Male giraffes, however, only associate consistently with their mothers."