Rhinoceros, often colloquially abbreviated rhino, is the common name used to group five extant species of odd-toed ungulates in the family Rhinocerotidae. Two of these species are native to Africa and three to southern Asia. Three of the five species—the (Javan, Sumatran and Black Rhinoceros)—are critically endangered. The Indian is endangered, with fewer than 2700 individuals remaining in the wild. The White is registered as Vulnerable, with roughly 14,500 remaining in the wild. The rhinoceros family is characterised by large size (one of the largest remaining megafauna alive today) with all of the species capable of reaching one ton or more in weight; herbivorous diet; and a thick protective skin, 1.5–5 cm thick, formed from layers of collagen positioned in a lattice structure; relatively small brains for mammals this size (400–600g); and a large horn. They generally eat leafy material, although their ability to ferment food in their hindgut allows them to subsist on more fibrous plant matter, if necessary. Unlike other perissodactyls, the African species of rhinoceros lack teeth at the front of their mouths, relying instead on their powerful premolar and molar teeth to grind up plant food.
Wiki Link: Rhinoceros
August 29, 2008