29 September 2010

Did you know... why the white rhino is called "white rhino"?

There are some theories around, but the most obvious one is based on a mistranslation of the word "wijd" (referring to the width of the rhino's mouth) from Dutch to English. "Wijd" in Dutch, or "wyd" in Afrikaans, means "wide" in Englisch. So early English-speaking settlers in South Africa misinterpreted the "wijd" or "wyd" for "white" and the rhino with the wide mouth ended up being called the white rhino. Other popular theories suggest the name comes from its wide appearance throughout Africa, its color due to wallowing in calcerous soil, because of the lighter colour of its horn or even because of the many bird droppings on their bodies. Black rhinos are actually not black at all. The species probably derives its name as a distinction from the white rhino and/or from the dark-colored local soil that often covers its skin after wallowing in mud.

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