探索发现-冰河纪动物Ice Age Survivors03

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Lions succeed in a hunt only once in every five tries.
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But through trial and error this mother will train her cubs as quickly
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as possible so they can begin to fend for themselves.
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In isolated areas of the African plains,
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an animal endures today whose prehistoric appearance evokes the past.
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Like elephants and hippos, rhinos were far more abundant during the Ice Age.
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Millions of years ago a rhino lived who was as slender and fast as a horse.
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Though today's are not quite as agile,
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they can still make an impressive charge when threatened.
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The name rhinoceros derives from the horn and the snout.
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Unlike bison and elk whose horns have a bony core,
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the rhino's horns are made of tightly matted hair.
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Rhinos have poor vision
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and are unable to detect a moving object more than a hundred feet away.
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Their eyes are placed on either side of the head
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so in order to see forward they must look with one eye and then the other.
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This trait combined with their
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relatively small brain causes them to be easily startled
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and has given them a reputation for unprovoked aggression.
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On average rhinos live about forty-five years
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with females first giving birth at the age of six or seven.
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A single birth is the norm
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and babies are relatively small weighing only about a hundred pounds
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compared to the mother's five thousand.
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The rhinos have survived for millions of years.
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They are now under grave threat from man.
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Today the five living species of rhino survive in dwindling numbers,
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but their long-term fate remains in question.
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Millions of years ago hippos lived in forests
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and were much smaller than today's three ton average.
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But as forests gradually gave way to open plains,
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hippos moved out of the forest and into the water.
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By the time of the Ice Age hippos had
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already acquired their unique skin structure.
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Because their skin dehydrates quickly, they spend most of the day in water
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leaving only at night to feed in the grassy meadows nearby.
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They are slightly denser than water
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and can easily walk on the bottom of
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riverbeds for up to five minutes at a time.
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Their reliance on water is part of a trade-off from their past.
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When they moved from the forest to
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the lakes they gained access to a greater food supply,
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but in so doing they lost their sweat
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glands and are now forever tied to the water.
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Today's hippos are fully adapted to aquatic life
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with eyes, ears and nostrils placed on top of the head.
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By barely breaking the surface,
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they know everything about their surroundings.
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As their Ice Age ancestors did,
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dominant bulls maintain exclusive
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mating rights in their territories and defend them rigorously.
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Their razor sharp lower canines are
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up to twenty inches long and can inflict severe damage.
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As evening approaches, groups begin to come ashore for feeding.
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They walk along their regular trails to their favorite pastures
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and may not return until morning.
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In a nearby lake, ancient predators defend their nests.
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Crocodile evolution spans more than two hundred million years.
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Qualifying them among the most endurable animals on the planet.
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During the dinosaur era, the largest known crocodile was over 35 feet long
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with a six-foot head and razor sharp teeth.
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Today's croc average about 16 feet,
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but they still possess many of the same traits as their predecessors.
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As they did here during ice age,
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female crocs come ashore to lay their eggs.
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After about 3 months, the female uncovered the nest,
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allowing the eggs to hatch.
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To ensure their safety,
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she gently picks up each hatchling with her teeth
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and holds them in the poach of her mouth.
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It was once believed that mothers ate their young.
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And it still seems the care situation for the youngsters.
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Carrying as many new-born and unhatched eggs as she can,
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she makes her way back to the water.
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Here, she'll release the hatchlings.
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And then gently cracked open the
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remaining eggs by squishing them from side to side in their mouth.
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Just as they've done through countless generations,
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the remaining hatchlings on shore make their way down to the water's edge.
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They do so just in time,
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as their nest is now under attack by an army of ants.
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There are many other perils for the young crocs and their mother to face.
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A nest must be defended with vigilance if its eggs are going to survive.
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But today as during the ice age
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that it is estimated there are only 2%
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of all the crocodile young make it to adulthood.
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The first few weeks of life are full of risk
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And the young stands the best chance of surviving by staying close to mom.