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The black rhinoceros

25 August 2015

 

www.leopard.tvBlack rhinoceroses once occurred on the slopes of Table Mountain and were common on the Cape Flats. There are five types of living rhinoceros in the world but only the white rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum and the black rhinoceros Diceros bicornis occur in Africa. They all have single stomachs and do not chew the cud. The black rhinoceros was first described scientifically as Rhinoceros bicornis by Linnaeus in 1758 but the genus Diceros was coined by Gray in 1821 because the genus Rhinoceros only occurs outside Africa. The first black rhinoceroses in South Africa were seen by the explorers Kolb, Jacobaeus and Schroekius in the Western Cape. There are six subspecies of black rhinoceros in Africa, with Diceros bicornis bicornis in the south-western semi-deserts, Diceros bicornis minor in the savannas from South Africa northward to the south of Tanzania and Diceros bicornis chobiensis from the Northern Cape to south-eastern Angola in southern Africa. They are all either vulnerable or are being threatened with extinction. A fossil ancestor lived in Europe and its descendants later split into one group in Africa and another one in Asia. Fossil black rhinoceroses that are some 7 to 2.5 million years old are found in Africa... (Become a subscriber for more)


References:

Berkeley E V and L W Linklater 2010. Annual and seasonal rainfall may influence progeny sex ratio in the black rhinoceros. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 40(1): 53 - 57.

Bothma, J du P and J G du Toit (Eds) 2015.Game ranch management, sixth edition. Pretoria: Van Schaik. In press.

Grubb, P 2005. Order Perissodactyla. In D E Wilson and D M Reeder (Eds), Mammal species of the world – a taxonomic and geographic reference, third edition. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, p 629 - 636.

Skinner, J D and C T Chimimba (Eds) 2005.The mammals of the southern African subregion, third edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 531 - 537.

 

article by Prof J du P Bothma

 

 

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