Teeth of the Rhino

Muneo TOKUNAGA mtokunag at BUN.KYOTO-U.AC.JP
Fri Sep 28 08:23:36 UTC 2001

Dear Professor Olivelle,

jpo> humans and horses]. My question is about the Rhinoceros. Does the
jpo> Indian Rhino have incisors on both jaws on on just the lower? The
jpo> Dharma texts prohibits the eating of ubhayatodat, but Rhino can be

I had the same question.  S.H.Prater says on p.232 in his The Book of
Indian Animals:

``It (the Asiatic Twohorned Rhinoceros: Didermocerus sumatrensis) is
further distinguished by having a single pair of lower front teeth
instead of two pairs as in the Great Indian Onehorned (Hindi gainda,
gargadan, Mar. genda) and the Javan Rhinoceroses (Hindi gainda,
Mar. genda).'' [Acc. to Turner, gaNDa4 `rhinoceros', is prob. of the
same non-Aryan origin as khaDga1 'rhinoceros'.]

His words ``at the present time its survival in India is doubtful''
indicate his thought that it once lived in India. But he gives only
the Burmese name kyan, kyan-shaw for this rhinoceros.

jpo> eaten. But Rhino is given as an exception to the prohibition against
jpo> eating the pancanakha [even though the Rhino has only three nails!!].

This remains a question. Prater says on p.226, just as you wrote, ``A
tapir has four and a rhinoceros three toes on each forefoot. Both have
only three on the hind.'' I have no idea.

Just my note, not much answer.

Muneo Tokunaga, Kyoto

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