Take a Minute and Enjoy This Tiny Dwarf Giraffe Named Gimli
Between work woes and the news, we could all use a pick-me-up now and then. And nothing is a better pick-me-up than a tiny animal. Well, in this case, tinier-than-most.
Gimli actually stands nine feet tall, so he's still a fair sight bigger than humans, but considering that most adult male giraffes measure about 18 feet tall on average, his fellow giraffes are definitely towering over him like Legolas, according to Metro.
Scientists first noticed Gimli back in 2015. "The initial reaction was disbelief," said Michael Brown, a conservation science fellow with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, to the New York Times. Gimli has a characteristically long neck like other giraffes, but his legs are proportionally much shorter. The condition that causes this rare phenomena is called skeletal dysplasia, which affects bone growth, according to the New York Times.
In 2018, another giraffe with this particular condition –– this time a 8-1/2-foot-tall Angolan giraffe named Nigel –– was also discovered by scientists living on a private farm in Namibia, the New York Times reported.
Recently, the scientific journal BMC Research Notes announced the scientific findings from observing these giraffes. According to the New York Times, dwarfism is very rare among wild animals.
According to Metro, both giraffes are around the same age and originated from the same population. And their condition doesn't seem to affect their health, since scientists think that these short giraffes will live as long as their taller counterparts –– though their size may make them easier prey.
Not only are Gimli and Nigel a big discovery for science, the rest of us can simply enjoy how adorable and serene-looking they are.
Andrea Romano is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @theandrearomano.