Tuesday, January 17, 2012

WOOLLY RHINOCEROS: Keeping Important Secrets

From 50,000 to 10,000 years ago, Woolly Rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis) roamed throughout Europe and Northern Asia.  As detailed in many cave paintings, Woolly Rhinoceros was well-adapted to life in the Ice Age for He had an undercoat of thick fur and a top coat of shaggy hair.  To survive in the extreme conditions of the freezing cold, He also had a compact body.  In fact, Woolly Rhinoceros was stockier than Modern Rhinos.  (The modern Relative of Woolly Rhino is Sumatran Rhino, who has a light covering of fur.)
            As depicted on cave walls, Woolly Rhino is often shown leaning down scraping the ground with his horn.  When these horns of Woolly Rhinos were first found, people thought that they were the claws of giant Birds.  Made of compacted hair, these horns were flat unlike modern Rhinos, whose horns are rounder.  Living on the plains and in open woodlands, Woolly Rhino would sweep the snow away with his horn to uncover the grass underneath.
            Fossils of Woolly Rhino were found recently in 2011 on the Tibetan Plateau.  From examining these fossils, some scientists believe that He originated there during the Pliocene epoch about 3.6 million years ago.  Meanwhile, other fossils of Woolly Rhino were found near the Beringia land bridge on the Asian side.
            One major mystery that is puzzling to scientists is why Woolly Rhino did not cross over to North America.  What was so different between Asia and North America?  So far, Woolly Rhino has not told anyone why He did not migrate any farther.
            Behind a thin veil of mystery, Woolly Rhino keeps his secrets.  We may know nearly everything about Him, but there are still some things He keeps to Himself.  We know what Woolly Rhino ate, lived, and other facts but we do not know why He did not migrate to North America.  He keeps his own counsel about these things. We may never find out why Woolly Rhino decided to remain where He was.  Learn from Woolly Rhino how to keep important secrets from prying people. 

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