| Replica of a woolly rhino created by Remie Bakker, 2010
For more information on Remie Bakker’s work, visit the website: http://www.manimalworks.com/
Woolly rhinoceros model replicas
Remie Bakker a talented, trained sculptor from the Netherlands created the woolly rhinoceros replicas depicted in the following images. Mr. Bakker has completed two woolly rhinoceros replicas in the Netherlands, one for the Nature Museum on the island of Texel, Ecomare (2001) and another for the Twentsewelle museum in Enschede (2007). The woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis) was contemporary to the woolly mammoth, forming part of the so-called megafauna, together with bison, wild horses and predators like lions, bears and hyenas during the Pleistocene or Ice Age (2.6 million to 11,500 years ago). The habitat that they shared was the mammoth steppe. This was a cold and arid area that extended from the British Isles in the west across to Siberia and Beringia in the east
The making of the woolly rhino replica
Paleontologist Dick Mol supervised the process of replica construction. The objective was to depict the real, now- extinct animal, being careful to avoid any creative assumptions. The animal also needed to express a natural action pose. For this purpose the postures of modern African rhinos in their natural habitat were studied. Remie constructed a steel frame that was filled with polyurethane foam to form the rhino body. The foam shape was covered with a “skin” of polyester resin, with the under fur and outer fur glued on. The fur is composed of buffalo, yak, sheep wool and synthetic hair.
The head was molded from the skull of a woolly rhino cow with broad lips visible. This type of mouth indicates that the animal was a grazer. The hooves and legs were molded of clay and show the characteristic three-toed foot of members of the rhinoceros family. The toe nails are rounded, worn down by walking on the hard, dry ground.
The color of the fur is grey with a faint brown tint identical to the color of hair from woolly rhinos preserved in the permafrost of Siberia. Remie mixed large irregular pieces of under fur with the outer fur, suggesting the animal was shedding in the springtime and giving it a very coarse appearance. Shedding is common in cold weather mammals, hence it was assumed that this is also true for woolly rhinos.
The Finishing Touches
The head has two horns: the long flattened nasal horn of 0.85 meter length (33 in) and the shorter frontal horn (11 in). Horns were modeled from clay using real woolly rhino horns retrieved from the permafrost of Siberia. No details were overlooked. Typical scratch marks on the sides of the nasal horns were added. After the clay model was completed, the horns were molded and replicated using polyester resin that was placed on the head replica. Then, much shorter fur (like the fur on a mummified head of a woolly rhino found in the permafrost of Siberia) was fixed to the head. The result was a perfect replica of a woolly rhino cow standing 1.65 meters (65 in) at the shoulder and having a length of 2.86 meters (112 in). The posture of the animal is slightly bent to the right as if she was looking behind her. The ears point in different directions. The final touch was the indication of a small wound on the forehead, caused perhaps during conflict with a rival. Woolly rhino skulls often exhibit deformed growth in this spot.