The gerenuk was first described by Victor Brooke in 1879 and the species was named after the specimen-provider Gerald Waller’s deceased brother.
The gerenuk was first described by Victor Brooke in 1879 on the basis of three male specimens procured on the mainland of Africa, north of the island of Zanzibar. Brooke used the scientific name Gazella walleri, on the request of Gerald Waller who had provided the specimens and requested to name the species after his deceased brother.
The type locality was later corrected by John Kirk, who originally obtained the specimens on the coast near the River Juba in southern Somaliland before giving them to Waller.
In 1886, Franz Friedrich Kohl proposed a new genus for the gerenuk, Litocranius.
In 1997, Colin Groves proposed that Litocranius is a sister taxon of the similarly long-necked dibatag (Ammodorcas clarkei), but withdrew from this in 2000.
A 1999 phylogenetic study based on cytochrome b and cytochrome c oxidase subunit III analysis showed that the tribe Antilopini, to which the gerenuk belongs, is monophyletic.
In 2013, Eva Verena Bärmann and colleagues of the University of Cambridge revised the phylogeny of tribe on the basis of nuclear and mitochondrial gene analysis. The cladogram prepared by them showed that the springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) forms a clade with the gerenuk. This clade is sister to the saiga (Saiga tatarica, tribe Saigini) and the blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra, genera Antilope,) Eudorcas, Gazella and Nanger (of Antilopini).
• Image | ©️ Nathan Rupert, Some Rights Reserved, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
• Sources | (Bärmann, Rössner, & Wörheide, 2013; Brooke, 1878; Rebholz & Harley, 1999; Sclater & Thomas, 1898; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2020; Wilson & Reeder, 2005)