Dec 17, 2017

Rhino nearing extinction first had trouble in the Ice Age

An 8-year-old male Sumatran rhino named Harapan (hope) eats leaves inside a cage at Way Kambas National Park on Sumatra Island Indonesia. Photo: Tatan Syuflana / AP

Scientists have discovered that Sumatran rhinos — one of the most endangered mammals in the world — first saw a population decrease during the last Ice Age, BBC reports.

Why it matters: The Sumatran rhino population reached 60,000 around 950,000 years ago, and now it's less than 250 due, in part, to human hunting. And the species is confined mainly to Sumatra now, despite having lived across India, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, per BBC.

Terri Roth, a researcher at the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, said the animals are "hanging on by a thread." The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says part of the mammal's extinction is due to hunters who seek its horns and other medicinal products.

The study was based on the whole genome sequence of a male rhino that lived at the Cincinnati Zoo. Scientists modeled the species' population history through the rhino's DNA.

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George Zimmerman sues Buttigieg and Warren for $265M

George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, in November 2013. Photo: Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman filed a lawsuit in Polk County, Fla. seeking $265 million in damages from Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, accusing them of defaming him to "garner votes in the black community."

Context: Neither the Massachusetts senator nor the former Southbend mayor tweeted his name in the Feb. 5 posts on what would've been the 25th birthday of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen Zimmerman fatally shot in 2012. But Zimmerman alleges they "acted with actual malice" to defame him.

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Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The relative civility of the last eight Democratic debates was thrown by the wayside Wednesday night, the first debate to feature the billionaire "boogeyman," Michael Bloomberg, whose massive advertising buys and polling surge have drawn the ire of the entire field.

The big picture: Pete Buttigieg captured the state of the race early on, noting that after Super Tuesday, the "two most polarizing figures on this stage" — Bloomberg and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders — could be the only ones left competing for the nomination. The rest of candidates fought to stop that momentum.

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Buttigieg and Klobuchar in Las Vegas on Feb. 19. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg went after Sen. Amy Klobuchar on the debate stage Wednesday for voting to confirm Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and voting in 2007 to make English the national language.

What she's saying: "I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete, but let me tell you what it's like to be in the arena. ... I did not one bit agree with these draconian policies to separate kids from their parents, and in my first 100 days, I would immediately change that."