Posted by Kian Barker
Greetings and salutations,
Many of you would have heard or read that Elephant and Hyraxes or dassies or otherwise known as rock rabbits are related. Very distantly. A bunch of guys in a lab somewhere discovered this. Obviously one of them got a doctorate for assimilating enough information on these weirdly related beasts. Makes the Hill Billy's look normal. Just to throw you a curve ball, Elephant and hyraxes have the following points of association, dental formula, pedal arrangement and forensic proteins. Well if you do not understand any of this technology "Google it". easi peezi and better than watching some mindless TV program.
But then if there are not really significant quantities of elephant and dassies seen in the iSimangaliso Geographical Area, what now. Well, these two cousins are about as unlikely as the Elephant and dassie but they are seen everyday. The one can be described best as brawn and a little brain and the other makes GT stripes look like something you would find on a tortoise. So since we are on this forensic zoology thing, by now most of those that have visited the above-mentioned Park would have guessed these cousins and indeed you are right. The Rhino and the Zebra (previously in an earlier article zebra were referred to as French Underwear).
How is it possible that two very unlikely herbivores noshing away a pile of green stuff are related. Well they both are Perisiodactyls - "Huh?". Easy and this time I will not expect you to rush off and "Google it". Peri refers to odd or single - like in the periscope. Dactyl refer to toes. Yup those things on the end of your foot. So these herbivores have an odd number of toes. The zebra stand on one toe, whereas rhino lope around on three. The single toe in the case of zebra gives them speed and agility, whereas rhino are so large that they require extra toes to carry there weight. No need for agility any predator trying to attack a rhino will immediately qualify for the Darwin award or need it eyes checked.
So first -up we will have a look at a little French underwear - Zebra and they come in three size: A, B and C - D being extinct. Just kidding! There are three generally recognised zebra 'species': Burchell's, Hartmann's and the Cape Mountain Zebra - the Qwagga is extinct. In the case of the rhino there are two types: the black and the white. More confusion and it is practical to refer to the grass eater as the square-lipped rhino and the black as the hook lipped rhino - leaf eater. Easy and it reduces the possible confusion.
This Zebra could also be referred to as the east Coast Zebra, it has a massive distribution and is found all the way up the east Coast and partly inland. And in one area they are found right across the east coast to almost the West coast. This population reaches into the Etosha game reserve.