A quick plug here for BBC Radio 4′s fourth episode of “Just So Science”, playing at 13:45 GMT today (this is the link). I was interviewed a few weeks ago for the show “How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin,” a la the classic Kipling tale. This series is revisiting Kipling’s tales in light of modern evolutionary science and evidence, whereas Kipling only had crude, Lamarckian or early Darwinian insight. Check out their earlier episodes on whales, leopards and armadillos– good stuff, and with real scientists. Richard Dawkins may appear again (EDIT: yep! Dawkins manifested) in this episode to provide some gravitas and evolution street cred, too.
And Freezersaurus gets a big plug! From the website: “ Rhinos and horses have much in common. John Hutchinson studies both, but just don’t ask to look inside his freezer.” NOTE: I am not a vet (I am a biologist), and definitely not a horse specialist like others in our lab, but I do study horses a little, in a comparative context.
While the original Kipling story focuses on rhino skin, and the producers were interested because of my popular post here on rhino skin, we discussed other issues such as gait, fossil record, feet, and more. I owe thanks to rhino skin expert Dr Tobin Hieronymus for helping me bone up on the unusual skin of rhinos, which has a surprising amount in common with the tough hide of walruses, boars, some water deer, and a few other species. It’s not just normal thickened skin, as Tobin and others have shown. Anyway, I don’t want to give away what’s on the radio programme; afterwards I might embellish this post more with some rhino anatomy and mechanics facts.
Coincidentally, I’m receiving four white rhinoceros feet today from a zoo mortality. So it’s rhino-fest here!
I hope you like the show– please let me know what you think in the comments below! I really enjoyed listening to it, but I’d like to know what you thought.