STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Elastic cartilage. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a section through elastic cartilage (central horizontal strip) from a pinna (external ear). Elastic cartilage maintains the semi-rigid, flexible shape of the ear. It contains fibres of the protein elastin. Cartilage is a firm and flexible connective tissue. It is composed of chondrocyte cells embedded in holes (black) in an extracellular matrix (brown). The layers of skin (top and bottom) enclosing the cartilage are also seen. The pinna, channels sound waves into the internal ear. Magnification unknown.
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