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Development, structure and function of rhinoceros enamel



Vertical enamel prism decussation in the inner-layer enamel of rhinoceroses occurs as the result of vertical translation, in opposite senses, of zones of ameloblasts, which begins very shortly after amelogenesis commences at the enamel-dentine junction. Prisms in the centre of the decussating zones are stacked in the Pattern 3 arrangement. Zone boundary prisms adopt intermediate orientations, are locally nearly perpendicular to the enamel surface, and have a cylindrical, Pattern 1 cross-section. Decussation also continues in the outer-layer enamel, but the prisms all have occlusal-going courses: the occlusal-going zones of the inner enamel continue as the more occlusally oriented zones of the outer layer. Abrasion resistance to diamond polishing and soft abrasive projectile erosion (air-polishing with NaHCOs) and resistance to ion beam erosion is greater with distance from the nearest prism boundary discontinuity. Polished surface areas containing longitudinally sectioned prisms are more prone to ‘air-polishing’ and ‘airbrading’ erosion than areas with transversely sectioned prisms. These observed relationships fully explain the relief developed at natural wear surfaces.