People brought. Over the past century, rhinoceros horns have shrunk significantly.
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Scientists have studied why this happened and how it affected the lives of these animals.
Researchers have noticed that horns in all five species of rhinos have declined over the past 100 years or so. Scientists were interested in this feature, and therefore they decided to find out how and why this happened, as well as how it affected the lives of animals, writes the Daily Mail.
In the course of the study, a team of scientists from the University of Cambridge studied hundreds of photographs of these animals over the past 140 years, including all five species of rhinos – white, black, Indian, Javanese and Sumatran. Note that working with photographs has greatly simplified the life of scientists, because scientists, as a rule, do not have access to physical samples of animal horns due to security reasons.
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According to study co-author Oscar Wilson, he and his colleagues were very excited that they were able to find evidence using photographs that that the horns of animals have indeed become shorter.
In the study, the scientists measured the horns of 8 dozen rhinos photographed between 1886 and 2018. Among other things, the researchers studied photographs of animals shot by hunters, for example, the famous photograph of former US President Theodore Roosevelt in 1911, where he stands over a black rhinoceros, which he had just killed.
The researchers had to compare the length of the rhino's body and its horns to find out exactly the length of the horns in proportion to body size. Scientists have come to the conclusion that because of the hunting of these animals and the killing of rhinos with long horns in the world, in fact, there were animals with short horns that passed their genes from generation to generation.
Note that rhinos are endangered species. Today, scientists number about 30 thousand individuals that live in the wild.
However, at the beginning of the 20th century, things were quite different. Then the population of rhinos numbered about 500 thousand. Alas, because of human hunting, these monstrous animals are forced to survive today.
According to Wilson, these animals have developed their horns for a reason, different types of rhinos use them for different purposes, for example, to help themselves pick up food or protect yourself from predators. That is why Wilson and colleagues believe that shorter horns make life much more difficult for rhinos.