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Samotherium skull angled view from the Natural History Museum collections

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Cladus: Synapsida
Cladus: Eupelycosauria
Cladus: Sphenacodontia
Cladus: Sphenacodontoidea
Cladus: Therapsida
Cladus: Theriodontia
Subordo: Cynodontia
Infraordo: Eucynodontia
Cladus: Probainognathia
Cladus: Prozostrodontia
Cladus: Mammaliaformes
Classis: Mammalia
Subclassis: Trechnotheria
Infraclassis: Zatheria
Supercohors: Theria
Cohors: Eutheria
Infraclassis: Placentalia
Cladus: Boreoeutheria
Superordo: Laurasiatheria
Cladus: Euungulata
Ordo: Artiodactyla
Cladus: Artiofabula
Cladus: Cetruminantia
Subordo: Ruminantia

Familia: Giraffidae
Genus: †Samotherium
Species: †S. boissieri – †S. borissiaki – †S. eminens – †S. expectans – †S. irtyshense – †S. korotkevichae – †S. maeoticum – †S. major – †S. mongoliense – †S. neumayri – †S. sinense
Species excludendae: †S. africanum – †S. pamiri

Samotherium Forsyth Major, 1888: 1181

Type species: Samotherium boissieri

Chersonotherium Alexejev, 1915

Primary references

Forsyth Major, C.I. 1888. Sur un gisement d’ossements fossiles dans l'île de Samos, contemporains de l'âge de Pikermi. Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des sciences 107(26): 1178–1182. BHL Reference page.
Alexejev, A.K. 1915. Фауна позвоночных д. Ново-Елизаветовки [Vertebrate Fauna of Novo-Elizavetovka]. Pp. 1–432. Odessa. Reference page.

Samotherium ("beast of Samos") is an extinct genus of Giraffidae from the Miocene and Pliocene of Eurasia and Africa. Samotherium had two ossicones on its head, and long legs. The ossicones usually pointed upward, and were curved backwards, with males having larger, more curved ossicones, though in the Chinese species, S. sinense, the straight ossicones point laterally, not upwards. The genus is closely related to Shansitherium. Fossil evidence suggests that Samotherium had a rounded muzzle, which would suggest a grazing lifestyle and a habitat composed of grassland. One common predator of this animal was the Amphimachairodus [1]

According to biologist Richard Ellis the skull of a Samotherium is portrayed on an ancient Greek vase as a monster that Heracles is fighting.[2]
Samotherium major (middle) in comparison with the okapi (below) and giraffe. The anatomy of Samotherium appears to have shown a transition to a giraffe-like neck.
S. major and S. boissieri

A 2015 study found that Samotherium had a neck intermediate in length between the giraffe and the okapi, judging from examination of specimens of S. major from Greece.[3]

Walker, Cyril; Ward, David (2002). Fossils (2nd American ed.). Dorling Kindersley. p. 280. ISBN 0-7894-8984-8.
Ellis, Richard (2004). No Turning Back: The Life and Death of Animal Species. New York: Harper Perennial. pp. 6. ISBN 0-06-055804-0.
Danowitz, Melinda; Domalski, Rebecca; Solounias, Nikos (1 November 2015). "The cervical anatomy of Samotherium, an intermediate-necked giraffid". Open Science. The Royal Society. 2 (11): 150521. doi:10.1098/rsos.150521. PMC 4680625. PMID 26716010.

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