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Roostoceros (roost-ah-ser-us)

The Roostoceros is the first of genetically modified Black Rhinoceros created by Dr. Marcos Moreno in late May of 2014.  Fear of the rapidly decreasing population of the Rhinoceros, promoted scientists in South Africa to fix this problem. Rhinoceros are hunted for their valuable horns therefore scientists decided the only way to save these animals was to remove this from their DNA.

Roostoceros

The origin of the word Rhinoceros derived from Greek and Latin roots; rhino meaning nose, and ceros meaning horn. Although the roostoceros no longer obtains a horn, scientists agreed because it is within the same family, half of the meaning would remain. Science predicts that as time evolves more than 10 different species of roostoceros will evolve.

Diceros Bicornis, also known as the species of Black Rhino’s that the Roostoceros comes from, has been sighted in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.  South Africa is where nearly have of the black rhino population remains. Watchers monitor the small population of this new species, in order to keep their safety. These large animals roam the hot safari in search of mud pits to roll around in to stay cool. The mud sticks to their skin and helps to protect their skin from the harsh sun.

At birth, the Roostoceros shares no facial features similar to that of a rooster. These animals still grow at the same rate as a normal black rhinoceros, just with different facial features. At maturity instead of developing a horn, the Roostoceros begins the formation of the comb on top of the head, and the wattle beneath the chin. The purpose of the comb is still to attract females while also keeping poachers away from them. The wattle serves as extra skin, also to attract mates when is breeding season. Although females have fairly short horns, their DNA has been changed as well to match the males’ comb. Females do not obtain the wattle as males do.

The diet of a Roostoceros remains herbivorous, consuming things such as leaves from trees and bushes. Roostoceros have almost no teeth and heavily rely on their beak to gather food. With the sharp point that is now on the lips of the animal, it is easier getting fruits from small trees or bushes. The large mass of the Roostoceros allows the animal to graze most of the day.

At full maturity, a male Roostoceros will weight between 1000-4000 pounds, and females at around 900-2700 pounds. Height in an adult male typically ranges from 5-7 feet tall, while females are 4-5.5 feet tall. The eyesight of these animals can be blurry at times, but they do have impeccable sense of smell and taste.

Humans, for the wealth of their horns, hunt Black Rhinoceros. Many people believe that these horns show wealth, and are traded and bough in the black market. The high demand for these products are what brought this animal close to extinction. Many laws have been passed to stop the selling and trade of these horns. The change Dr. Moreno made is said to extremely reduce the amount of poaching in South Africa.

Jasmine Koulakis