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Reinhold Rau (February 7, 1932 - February 11, 2006) was a well-known South African natural historian. He was born near Frankfurt, Germany. He was trained as a fossil preparator at Senckenberg Museum and joined the South African Museum in 1951.
In 1969, he re-mounted the quagga foal, the only extant specimen in southern African museum collections. Dried tissue samples from the foal's skin, together with additional tissue samples from the two Mainz quaggas that he re-mounted in 1980/81, formed the basis of the DNA analyses that led to the discovery that the Quagga was a subspecies of the Plains Zebra, not a distinct species. Rau was the pioneer and founder of the Quagga Project, an attempt to re-breed the extinct Quagga. In 2000, the Cape Tercentenary Foundation awarded him the Molteno Medal for lifetime services to nature conservation in the Cape. His quest to rebreed the Quagga is said to have provided the inspiration for the film Jurassic Park.
Reinhold Rau died on February 11, 2006 at age 73.
- D.T. Max (2006-01-01). "Can You Revive an Extinct Animal?". New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
- Donald G. Mcneil Jr. (2006-03-23). "Reinhold E. Rau, Taxidermist on a Quest, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
- "The Cape Tercentenary Foundation Medal".
- "Obituary: Reinhold Rau". The Telegraph. 24 March 2006. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- Winstead, E.R. (20 October 2000). "In South Africa, the Quagga Project Breeds Success". Genome News Network. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
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