POWER AND SYRED / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY POWER AND SYRED / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Polarised light micrograph of a cross-section of horn from the Indian rhinoceros. The horn consists throughout of keratin, and does not have a bony pith (unlike those of cattle). It is commonly held that rhinoceros horn consists of matted hair. Seen under a microscope, however, it is clear that the individual rods are not coated with a protective layer as is real hair. They adhere densely together in layers, thus they resemble neither the hair nor the horn of a ruminant, but rather the material of the hoof. A mistaken belief in the aphrodisiac properties of the powdered horn has led to all species of rhinoceros being hunted close to extinction. Mag: x100 at 35mm size.
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