We have a piece of good news and a piece of bad news. The good news is that unicorns are real, or so scientists claim. The bad news is that they weren’t horses. They were rhinos. But the centerpiece of a recent discovery is that the so-called ‘unicorns’ roamed the planet when humans were around.
A newly-found fossil suggests that Elasmotherium sibiricum, also known as the Siberian unicorn, lived much longer past its initial expiration date. In fact, new carbon dating shows that the beast might have co-existed with Homo Sapiens.
So, basically the furry unicorns and man might have met, but don’t expect the Siberian beasts to be the source of inspiration for the slender mythological creatures from our favorite fairy tales.
Instead, the Siberian unicorn looked more like a rhino than a horse, and it had a body covered in thick fur to survive the harsh winters in what’s today Siberia. Furthermore, its legendary horn was no longer or thicker than a modern day rhino’s.
Scientists that discovered the new fossil evidence said that the remains, which were carefully carbon dated and categorized, definitely belonged to Elasmotherium sibiricum regardless of the initial error in carbon dating of just about a few hundreds of years.
The research team at Tomsk State University speculates that the creature might have survived in the region of Kazakhstan, even though in other parts of the planet most of species members had mysteriously died off long before that.
Scientists now plan to conduct a follow-up study to learn what type of climate shifts pushed the species to the brink of extinction, and how resilient the horned creatures were.
On the other hand, if an ancient animal was named a ‘unicorn’ don’t expect for it to actually be one. Scientists sometimes tend to make reality rosier than it is. Maybe it is just their poetic side or their effort to make science more enticing. And naming a bland shaggy beast after a mythical creature has been a sure recipe for success since forever. Take for instance, the scores of netizens spending this morning reading about a long-extinct creature whose initial timeline had to be rewritten just because it bears the name of a unicorn.
Image Source: Wikimedia