STL Science Center

STL Science Center

23 October 2011

Woolly Rhinoceros- Kid Edition

Happy Sunday kiddos!

The Woolly Rhinoceros, pictured at right without any hair (you add it on, that's part of the fun of coloring it today!), was a slightly larger than the largest living species at the moment species of rhino from Earth's past. While it was furry, it was not cuddly. Well, this one was, but none of the others were, trust me on this one! Anyhow, the Woolly Rhino was a big hairy herbivore that may have used his biggest horn above his nose, which could be up to three feet long, which might even be taller than some of you kids out there, to brush aside snow in the tundra and glacial environments in which they lived to get down to the grass and small vegetation that lay under the snow. You can read more facts like these at these two pages about the Woolly Rhino; one is for kids and the other is a page from a website dedicated to just Rhinoceroses around the world.

The last bit of information I want to share with the kiddos today before they go exploring the Woolly Rhino themselves is that scientists have just recently discovered what they think is the oldest ever fossil of Woolly Rhinoceroses (I think I just like writing Rhinoceroses today!). The fossil was dug up in the country of Tibet which is in the Himalayan mountains between India and China. Coincidentally, it is very difficult to find an accurate map of Tibet to share with you children today because China says Tibet belongs to them and Tibet says "Go away China and leave us alone" all the time, but here is what turns up in Google Maps if you look up Tibet. Getting back to our subject though, the oldest fossil was found in Tibet with an ancient Snow Leopard and an ancient horse as well. The fossil is reportedly 3.6 million years old which means that the Woolly Rhino separated from its cousins through evolution almost 4 million years ago and started growing that wonderfully thick and hairy coat for winter time!

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