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Scientists have crafted a fake rhino horn out of horse hair, in an effort to stop poachers hunting down the endangered species.
The fake horns, created by researchers from the University of Oxford, are designed to confuse buyers, and diminish the demand for real rhino horns by showing that a vastly cheaper copy can infiltrate the market.
Medicine - Rhino - Horn - Benefits - Aphrodisiac
In Chinese medicine, rhino horn is believed to have many benefits - including working as an aphrodisiac.
Despite the crushed horn often being ground up with Viagra, the demand for rhino horn remains undimmed, continuing to drive poaching with devastating effect for the few populations left in the wild.
Rhinoceros - Horn - Way - Cow - Horn
Rhinoceros horn is not constructed in the same way as a cow's horn, but it does share some of the same material properties.
In fact, a rhino's horn is actually a tuft of hair that grows, tightly-packed and glued together by a liquid that oozes out of glands on the animal's nose.
Horns - Scientists - Hairs - Horses - Relative
To make the horns the scientists bundled together tail hairs from horses - a close relative of the rhino - and glued them together with a bespoke mesh of regenerated silk.
The result was a horn that was strikingly like the real thing in appearance, feel and composition.
Author - Professor - Fritz - Vollrath - Oxford
Co-lead author Professor Fritz Vollrath, from Oxford's...
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