Giraffe
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Giraffe

Latin name: Camelopardus

Other names: Camelopardalis, Camelus pardalis, Nabun

A beast that looks like a camel but has the spots of a leopard

 

 
General Attributes

The giraffe (camelopardus) is so named because it has the appearance of a camel but the spots of a pard or leopard. It is so tall in front and so short in back that it looks like it is sitting down.


Sources (chronological order)

Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 8, 1-13): The Ethiopians give the name nabun to a beast that has the neck of a horse, feet and legs like an ox, and the head of a camel. It is a reddish color and has white spots, so it is also called camelopard. It was first seen in Rome in the Circus put on by Caesar.

Isidore of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 2:19): The camelopardus is so called because it has the head of a camel and the spots of a pard. Its neck is like that of a horse, and its feet like those of cattle. It is from Ethiopia.

Sir John Mandeville [14th century CE] (Travels, chapter 31): There also be many beasts, that be clept orafles. In Arabia, they be clept gerfaunts. That is a beast, pomely or spotted, that is but a little more high than is a steed, but he hath the neck a twenty cubits long; and his croup and his tail is as of an hart; and he may look over a great high house. (The Travels of Sir John Mandeville (1900) Macmillan edition of 1900)


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