Web series chronicling the history and origins of popular stuff. In this episode of “Utterly Amazing,” the history of the mysterious and beloved rhinoceros.
This video covers the etymology of the word rhinoceros in general usage and meaning in popular culture from its ancient Greek and Latin roots to to its modern adoption to English usage. It touches on the rhino’s impact as a keystone species, including its daily rituals and impact on the environment to it’s overall life expectancy and birth rates in the wild. A relative to the common Tapir. Its sudden global expansion in the Eocene epoch lead to its becoming one of the most prolific creatures on earth. Though subsequent hunting by man in the Miocene epoch lead to its numbers dwindling, nearly to extinction in modern times. With modern rhinos such as the white rhinoceros and black rhinoceros living in Africa. The Javan Rhinoceros, Sumatran Rhinoceros, and Indian rhinoceroses make their home in Asia. Characterized by its notably large size. Its horn, its thick, protective, skin, poor eyesight, and a hind-gut that aids in fermentation of difficult to digest foods. The rhinoceros, is considered very intelligent. Twisting saplings to indicate junctions in trails to other rhinos. And is able to open gates and car door with its mouth, much to the chagrin of park goers. Able to charge 31 miles per hour for short distances, the rhinoceros is a strong swimmer. The rhino’s horn is made of keratin, much like human hair, though different than cattle or sheep whose horns are made of keratin with a boney core or deer whose antlers are solid bone. African male rhinos establish dominance by fighting with their horns. Asian rhinos, on the other hand, use their lower incisor to bite or gore. Despite a lack of scientific evidence, the rhinos horn is often used as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, consumed in the hopes of curing illnesses, ranging from hangovers to gout. Illegal trade routs for the horn extend from South Africa and West Africa to Vietnam and China.
To learn more about helping to save the rhinoceros. Google: “Rhino Conservation.”