Sumatran rhinoceros have ‘critically endangered’ status, but new investigation proposes that the species has been risked for approximately 10,000 years. These species are less than 100 across the globe at the time. The research directed by genetics professor Herman Mays Jr. at Marshall University recommends that change in living conditions during Ice Age badly impacted the population of Sumatran rhinoceros and it hasn’t been able to recover from that major shock.
In a recent investigation issued this week in the journal Current Biology, a multinational crew of researchers sequenced the whole Sumatran rhino genome, obtaining the sample from the Cincinnati Zoo’s male rhino Ipuh, who existed in the zoo for over two decades before his 2013 death. This marked the first time experts were able to examine such data.
Based on the researchers’ decisions, the Sumatran rhinoceros’ concerns might have started during the Pleistocene era, which was defined by research author Herman Mays Jr., a professor at Marshall University, as a “roller-coaster ride.” This time, which spanned from 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago, noticed the populations of Sumatran rhinos and other giant creatures reach their peak. But as the time drew to an end, populations of these animals started to decrease, with the Sumatran rhino’s numbers from 9,000 ages ago predicted at just 700.
“The population bottomed out and never showed signs of recovery,” Mays explained in a statement.
To get an idea of the Sumatran rhinoceros’ history, the experts utilised a method called pairwise sequentially Markovian coalescent, or PSMC, which takes an individual of the species’ genome series, then considers the demographics of that class over thousands of generations. After assembling PSMC data from Ipuh’s genome, the investigators then connected those results with environment data to see if climate events may have played a part in the Sumatran rhino’s decline.
Once all the data was examined, the researchers decided that climate change agreed the Sumatran rhinoceros’ habitat in the Southeast Asian biogeographical area of Sundaland. According to the researchers, climate events toward the end of the Pleistocene period induced Sundaland to be immersed, resulting in the fragmentation of the species, which in turn led to their deterioration.
Although the Sumatran rhinoceros isn’t one of those threatened species whose decline was mainly brought about by human-made causes, the researchers recorded that humans also played a part in further whittling down the species’ numbers. “The Sumatran rhinoceros species is stretching on by a thread,” stated researcher Terri Roth, of the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.