• Question: What are rhinos horns and elephants tusks made out of? please answer my question :)

    Asked by katiemcgorryy to Aled, Ellie, Fiona, Kev, Willem on 11 Mar 2014.
    • Photo: Kevin Arbuckle

      Kevin Arbuckle answered on 11 Mar 2014:

      Elephant tusks are made of ivory, which is a tough material made of lots of minerals and other things, mostly calcium phosphates (similar to bone and tooth enamel) and magnesium.

      On the other hand, rhino horns are actually made of a protein called keratin. Keratin is also the protein that makes up hair, nails, hooves, and the scales of snakes and lizards!

    • Photo: Fiona Heesen

      Fiona Heesen answered on 11 Mar 2014:

      Hi katiemcgorryy,

      To the best of my knowledge Kevin is right – they are made out of two different materials, ivory and keratin. I had no idea that keratin was also a protein that made up the scales of snakes! How cool.

      Thanks all!