Scientists create fake rhino horn out of horse hair

CNET | 11/8/2019 | Staff
moemajor (Posted by) Level 3
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This rhino lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

What do rhinoceroses and horses have in common? A shared ancestor. This fact came into play as scientists from the University of Oxford and Fudan University in China developed a way to create an artificial rhino horn, which could potentially be used to reduce poaching that feeds the black market.

Researchers - Horn - Rhino - Horn

The researchers described the artificial horn as "confusingly similar to real rhino horn."

"We bundled together tail hairs of the rhino's ubiquitous near relative, the horse, to be glued together with a bespoke matrix of regenerated silk mimicking the collagenous component of the real horn," the scientists wrote in a paper published Friday in the journal Scientific Reports.

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These images show real rhino horn on the left and an artificial horn on the right.

Rhino horn is in demand in Asia as an aphrodisiac, though Oxford says it's often mixed with ground-up Viagra.

Rhino - Poachers - Populations - Market - Rhino

Rhino poachers have decimated wild populations to supply the black market. The last male northern white rhino died in Kenya in 2018. Other groups of rhinos continue to be targets.

The horse hair works so well as a corollary because the rhino doesn't have a typical horn made primarily of bone. It's actually formed primarily from keratin, the same protein found in hair. The researchers said their fake horn...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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