The Bird & The Rhinoceros: Intro

Science explains a lot of things about our world and life in general. It explains why the sun couldn’t be any closer or farther away from the earth than ninety-three million miles away. It explains why we reach terminal velocity at 122 miles per hour. It explains why the oxpecker bird and the rhinoceros need each other to live.


Although this isn’t a science book from a merely physical framework, science can teach us a lot about ourselves and how we interact with our world. This faucet can be found virtually everywhere in the form of symbiotic relationships.


A symbiotic relationship is one between two different organisms that live with each other for an extended period of time. It can be mutualistic; a relationship that is mutually beneficial for each organism, commensalistic; a relationship that benefits one organism while having no effect on the other, or parasitic; a relationship that benefits one organism while at the expense of the other.


The relationship between the oxpecker and the rhinoceros is generally mutualistic. The oxpecker lives in sub-Saharan Africa where its host, the rhinoceros also abides. As a bird, the oxpecker eats any ticks or fleas that feed off the rhinoceros, preventing any disease that could harm the larger animal in the future. In return, the rhinoceros provides the oxpecker with an abundance of nutrition (through the unwanted ticks and fleas), and protection.


The oxpecker and the rhinoceros, or to put more simply, the bird and the rhino, provide us with a myriad of lessons. These lessons range from how we should view a random interaction with a stranger on a train to how we should manage the employees placed under us.


Whenever and wherever we interact with other people, we are one of the billions of birds or rhinos in the interaction. Sometimes, we are both.


My hope is that the bird and the rhino will help you see every interaction you have with others as not just an ordinary event but a chance to push yourself and others towards growth in every arena of life.


Find the rest of the Bird and Rhinoceros series here