Monday, September 23, 2013

Rhinos: big, prehistoric, and not medicine

Yesterday was World Rhino Day, designated to celebrate the five species of rhinoceros, all of which are severely threatened by people.

Rhinos have disappeared from many countries in both Asia and Africa because their grassland and savanna homes are now crops or houses.

More urgently, people have already killed most of the world's rhinos and elephants to produce medicine or trinkets from their body parts. In Asia, particularly China and Vietnam, people seem to think that consuming rhino horn powder will cure rheumatism, reduce fever, and lessen hangovers.

It doesn't do any of these things.

A recent resurgence in rhino poaching is due most likely to the equally untrue rumors that a) the horn powder cures cancer, and b) it boosts virility (together with its amazing anti-hangover ability makes it a great party drug!).

Three of 5 rhino species are critically endangered, including the Javan rhino, the world's rarest land mammal. This species has been wiped out except for one tiny group of ~40 individuals in a single park on Java, in Indonesia.

What's crazy is that rhino horns are made of keratin, just like our hair and fingernails, so really these people could just bite their nails and chew on their hair for free instead of paying up to US$1,400 per ounce for rhino horn powder, and they'd get the same benefits.

Aside from humans slaughtering them to the point of extinction for unproven medical benefits and social status, rhinos are quite biologically fit.

Rhino fitness

Rhinos are herbivores - they eat the leafy parts of plants. And plants, as we know, are found nearly everywhere.

peaceful but packs a big punch when needed
They either graze on grasses or browse on bushes, and they have a prehensile (adapted for grabbing) upper lip that lets them grab onto leaves and branches, which makes for efficient nibbling.

They are generally peaceful but have several weapons that have helped them survive the last 50 million years.

First and most obvious, rhinos are huge and strong, so adults have no natural predators (tigers or lions can kill a young rhino).

Rhinos can run up to 30 - 40 mph (48-64 kph). You've been warned.

They wear skin that is tough and over a half inch (1.5 cm) thick to protect them from thorns, predator teeth, and the horns or teeth of other rhinos.

And, of course, they have those horns, which they use mainly to defend against attackers, including other rhinos.

Females will use their horns to both guide their calves and protect them from predators, while males will fight to defend territories and show their dominance. They can also dig for water and break branches with their horns. Be grateful for opposable thumbs!

Rhinos can survive without horns -- female Javan rhinos have stubs or minimal horns, and in some African parks, rangers de-horn rhinos to discourage poaching, though this may undermine the ability of the de-horned bull to retain prime territory.

giving way to a one-horned rhino
in India's beautiful Kaziranga National Park

In fact, two of the Asian rhino species with sharp incisor teeth use them, instead of their horns, to slash at and defend against their attacker.

In Return of the Unicorn (see below), Eric Dinerstein highlights the importance of large, sharp lower incisors in male rhinos to maintain their territories and access to the ladies.

Cool rhino facts

A group of rhinos is called a crash. This is what they do to you if you try to count them.

Rhinos are most closely related to other odd-toed ungulates (hoofed animals) called perissodactyls, including tapirs, horses, and zebras.

Rhino skin looks tough and durable but is actually sensitive to sun and insect bites - they cover themselves with mud and are normally active at night to keep from getting burned.

How do you know when a rhino's about to charge? He takes out his credit card.
What should you do if a rhino charges you? Pay him!

Learn more

we're sensitive types: greater one-horned rhinos in a wallow
The International Rhino Foundation works to both celebrate and conserve rhinos - the site has loads of info on rhinos and how we can help them survive for another 50 million years.

The Rhino Resource Center site has even more info, including rhino images and the latest scientific studies.

To learn more about Indian, or Greater One-horned, rhinos and the efforts of scientists to study and conserve them in Nepal, have a look at the book Return of the Unicorns by Dr. Eric Dinerstein of World Wildlife Fund.


  1. Very helpful suggestions that help in the optimizing website. Thank you for valuable suggestions.Rhinoceros 5

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Assuming, notwithstanding, your own point of view falls somewhere close to these two extremes then the decision to consider all encompassing drug ought to be an exceptionally watchful one. Medizinische √úbersetzer

  4. Obviously, the majority of this was a piece of the all-inclusive strategy - to toss quite a bit of humankind into the opposite part of the bargain of duality for the motivations behind more noteworthy learning and development in cognizance. comprar cytotec

  5. I would like to buy a print of one of these, where can I get them from.please?

  6. With each changing design in clinical idea, traditional medicine needs to throw away its currently antiquated conventionality and force the upgraded one, until it gets changed once more. visit now

  7. If you are one of the many candidates who is prepared to dedicate time and effort to one of several Oriental medicine schools and desire becoming an Oriental medicine practitioner, then you will discover that the vast majority of Oriental medicine schools offer a comprehensive curriculum in Oriental medicine anatomy and pathology, physiology, diagnosis, various acupuncture styles (E.g., 5-element acupuncture, Japanese acupuncture, etc.), needling techniques, meridian therapy and acupuncture anatomy, Tai Chi, Qi gong, Herbology, Eastern nutrition, and Chinese herbs.

  8. The demand in oriental medicine has substantially gained momentum, nevertheless it is known in the world since thousand years. cbd oil deals

  9. When you shop at a Pharmacy Online, you can take your time selecting the items that you really need and want. buy zopiclone

  10. First inquire as to why they needed to turn into a fitness coach. Not exclusively should the ideal fitness coach have an energy for health and fitness, however they ought to likewise need to impart their skill to you and help you to arrive at your own health and fitness objectives.

  11. I am impressed. I don't think Ive met anyone who knows as much about this subject as you do. You are truly well informed and very intelligent. You wrote something that people could understand and made the subject intriguing for everyone. Really, great blog you have got here. Buy tramadol online

  12. That's why marketing and advertising that you simply applicable exploration previous to publishing. It will be easy to write down superior write-up that way. Pharmacy

  13. It is advertising and marketing offers advertisments so as to practical research ahead of placing. In other words to jot down more appropriate area in this way. Medicine

  14. This particular is usually apparently essential and moreover outstanding truth along with for sure fair-minded and moreover admittedly useful My business is looking to find in advance designed for this specific useful stuffs… tramadol for cats

  15. how do medical practices ensure that they’re optimizing for context? FAQ pages — what many voice SEO guides recommend — are an easy (and ineffective) way out. Instead, create a map of a potential patient’s journey to your site, considering their intent, how they might formulate a question, and which results will be helpful to them. top 5 medical careers

  16. This website and I conceive this internet site is really informative ! Keep on putting up! business70

  17. Buy Adderall online at your door step from one & only trusted pharma in this ERA. Buying Adderall 30mg with Credit card.

  18. It is my first visit to your blog, and I am very impressed with the articles that you serve. Give adequate knowledge for me. Thank you for sharing useful material. I will be back for the more great post. Cenforce 200 mg

  19. The originally put down accounts of nature's medicine showed up around 6,000 years prior. nr powder

  20. Much the same as your own storeroom, medicine cupboards can be a serious wreck now and then, particularly in the event that you have bunches of medicines put away. ano ang alzheimer's disease

  21. Thanks for the article post. Really thank you! Great.Victoria Circumcision Clinic

  22. The next week I was making a decision about a NPC fitness, figure, and working out show and there she was. How could she do? She won the whole show with all adjudicators casting a ballot her main consistently. nr bulk powder

  23. Hi! Thanks for the great information you havr provided! You have touched on crucuial points! Small Practices Medical Billing Services

  24. With the increasing cost of individual and group health insurance plans, there are ways to control health care costs. See how two tips can help you save on health care. Kamagra