Rhinoceros – One-horned rhinoceroses
The genus of unicorn rhinos from Asia, swinging on the edge of existence
This genus’ two extant and endangered species (Rhinoceros sondaicus and Rhinoceros unicornis) are native to Southeast Asia.
A single nasal horn distinguishes rhinoceros (in males; rarely in females) slightly curved backward, incisors, and lateral tusklike incisors. A prehensile upper lip is used to pull during the browse. Depending on site factors (mainly sensitivity to human activity and presence), they can be found in plain alluvial grasslands, swamps, forests, and even dense tropical rainforests.
Scientific studies estimate the Asian and African lineages diverged at about 26 MYA. Phylogenetic analysis shows genus Rhinoceros is distantly related to the African genera Ceratotherium and Diceros, whereas closely related to Sumatran rhinoceros (genus Dicerorhinus).
Species in this genus
The rarest and most threatened of five extant rhinoceroses’ species
About 65% of the population is confined to Kaziranga NP in Assam, northeastern India; 17% to Chitwan NP in central Nepal