Forma, Vol. 6 (No. 3), pp. 225-240, 1991
Original Paper

Differentiation between Three Races of Giraffe Based upon Analysis of Trunk Spot Morphology

John Keith Beddow and David W. Luerkens

The Shapespeare Corporation, 128 East Washington Street, Iowa City, Iowa 52240, U.S.A.

(Received May 6, 1991; Accepted August 16. 1991)

Keywords: Giraffe, Spot-Morphology, Shape, Roughness, Microroughness

Abstract. This paper demonstrates that it is possible to differentiate between three different races of giraffe, g.c.rothschildi, g.c.reticulata and g.c.tippelskirchi, using the modem image analysis. The morphic features measured and reported here are shape, roughness, and microroughness. The first part of the paper discusses some elements of the theory of morphology as it is applied to the analysis of profiles using the R-theta method. First the operational definitions of "size" and "shape" are given and then the morphological features are defined in terms of the theory. Other features discussed include partial rotational and reflection symmetries. The second part of the paper presents the measured morphological features of the trunk spots of the three species of giraffe. The t-test is applied to determine the levels of significance of the differences between the morphic features. From these results it is concluded that the three races of Giraffe can be identified and differentiated on the basis of their trunk spot morphology, and that the assumed morphic features were useful for the three races of giraffe.