Namibia Wins Ig Nobel Prize For Discovering How Rhinos Respond Upside Down

Namibia Wins Ig Nobel Prize For Discovering How Rhinos Respond Upside Down

Humans certainly don’t feel good experiencing the Earth upside down. Airborne rhinoceros have tested to feel just the opposite. In conducting practical research to determine rhinos’ responses to being upside down, Namibia has clinched a Nobel Prize.

It is a constant practice in Namibia to transport rhinos from one habitat to another using the upside down method. It is funny to think of and usually makes people laugh but then again you get to see the sense in it when you’re quiet.

Although, Namibia isn’t the first country in the world to make people laugh and think afterwards with such a safe method. But according to wildlife veterinarian Robin Radcliffe, from Cornell University, it is surely the first to think of its effects on the animals.

As a matter of fact, this technique is popular in African conservations, employed to safely move these large animals from one area of fragmented habitat to a better and sustainable environment.

The curious Namibians along with Radcliffe carried out the research with the help of a chopper to discover that the tranquillized rhino’s heart and lung function just the same as if standing on his fours on land.

With the support of the Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism, they repeated the investigation with 12 black rhinoceroses — suspending them this time with a crane — and observed their physical responses.

As compared to lying on their sides, it appears rhinos feel great upside down 🙂

Radcliffe explained:

“I think the reason for that is, when a rhino is on its side, you have positional effects of blood flow. So in other words, the lower parts of the lung are getting lots of blood flow for gas exchange, but the upper part of the lung, just because of gravity, is not getting perfused well, so when a rhino is hanging upside down, it’s basically like it’s standing upside up; the lung is equally perfused.

“We’ve also seen that rhinos that are on their side too long, or on their sternum, especially – they get muscle damage, they get myopathy, because they’re so heavy. And there’s no pressure on their legs, other than the sense of the strap around their ankle,”

One of the team members and wildlife doctor Pete Morkel confirmed that the method can also be introduced for lifting the largest land mammal as well:

“This has really changed rhino translocation, and even more so elephant translocation. Picking these big animals up by their feet – it’s now accepted. The next thing we’ve got to do is some research on other species like buffalo, hippo, and maybe even giraffe,” he said.

For Radcliffe and the team members, one of the reasons they entered the Ig Nobel Prize was because the research syncs perfectly with the message: “it makes you laugh and then think”.

He added that:

“More and more people should understand what efforts are going on to try to help save these amazing animals that live here on Planet Earth with us.”

Meet Other Winners Of The 2021 Ig Nobel Prize:

Economics Prize: Pavlo Blavatskyy, for discovering that the obesity of a country’s politicians may be a good indicator of that country’s corruption.

Peace Prize: Ethan Beseris and colleagues, for testing the hypothesis that humans evolved beards to protect themselves from punches to the face.

Physics Prize: Alessandro Corbetta and colleagues, for conducting experiments to learn why pedestrians do not constantly collide with other pedestrians.

Kinetics Prize: Hisashi Murakami and colleagues, for conducting experiments to learn why pedestrians do sometimes collide with other pedestrians.

Medicine Prize: Olcay Cem Bulut and colleagues, for demonstrating that sexual orgasms can be as effective as decongestant medicines at improving nasal breathing.

Chemistry Prize: Jörg Wicker and colleagues, for chemically analysing the air inside movie theatres, to test whether the odours produced by an audience reliably indicate the levels of violence, sex, antisocial behaviour, drug use, and bad language in the movie the audience is watching.

Biology Prize: Susanne Schötz, for analysing variations in purring, chirping, chattering, trilling, tweedling, murmuring, meowing, moaning, squeaking, hissing, yowling, howling, growling, and other modes of cat-human communication.

Ecology Prize: Leila Satari and colleagues, for using genetic analysis to identify the different species of bacteria that reside in wads of discarded chewing gum stuck on pavements in various countries.

Entomology Prize: John Mulrennan Jr and colleagues, for their research study “A New Method of Cockroach Control on Submarines”.

By Elijah Christopher

Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.
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