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The Southern black rhinoceros or Cape rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis bicornis) is an extinct subspecies of the black rhinoceros that was once abundant in South Africa from the Cape Province to Transvaal, southern Namibia, and possibly also Lesotho and southern Botswana. It was brought to extinction by excessive hunting and habitat destruction around 1850.

TaxonomyEdit

It is unknown from where the original specimen (the holotype), on which Carolus Linnaeus based "Rhinoceros" bicornis in 1758, was collected. It was even proposed that it was indeed the skull of an Indian rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis) with a faked second horn, as Linnaeus erroneously noted India as occurrence. This was fixed formally in 1911, when O. Thomas declared the Cape of Good Hope as type locality of D. bicornis. Therefore this population formed the base of the nominal subspecies of the black rhinoceros. Later this subspecies became frequently mistaken for the south-western black rhinoceros, but the latter has to be considered a separate subspecies (D. bicornis occidentalis).