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How Many Giraffes Do You See? And You Are Sure They Are Pulling a Sleigh?

Over at Living the Scientific Life, blogger GrrlScientist summarizes the new paper by UCLA's David Brown and his colleagues that delves into ancient questions of West African giraffe speciation, i.e., how many species are there? Taxonomists had settled on "one" (Giraffa camelopardalis) as the answer, but Brown et al. in BMC Biology used mitochondrial DNA and nuclear microsatellite loci DNA to demonstrate that there are at least six, and possibly as many as eleven, distinct species, instead of a series of subspecies.

And if you harbor any doubts about whether the holiday season is upon us, follow GrrlScientist's comments thread for a thorough analysis of how many giraffe necks, therefore, must have been protruding from the portholes of Noah's Ark.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.