As the tallest animal on Earth, giraffes have long attracted human curiosity and respect. Their extraordinarily long necks, distinctive camouflage, graceful movements and friendly nature make them one of the most fascinating animals on the planet. But while giraffes once roamed the Great Plains of Africa in huge herds, their numbers have greatly decreased and they are now entirely dependent on humanity for their survival. In Giraffe, Edgar Williams explores not only the biology of giraffes, but also their impact on human history; in Ancient Egypt, giraffes were simply exotic pets whilst in the Middle Ages, giraffes were considered mythical beasts whose existence was as improbable as that of the dragon.
The Great White Hunters in Victorian times considered giraffe hunting to be one of the most exhilarating sports, which contributed to the giraffe's present endangered status. Giraffe provides a comprehensive, twenty-first-century view of the giraffe in art, literature, film and popular culture, as well as its natural history from pre-history to modern times. With new insights into the giraffe's genetics and evolution, as well as chronicling mankind's interest in the giraffe throughout history, this book will appeal to those interested in the giraffe's unique biology, and to anyone who admires the giraffe and wants to know more about it.
Edgar Williams is Reader in the Faculty of Health, Sport and Science at University of Glamorgan.