The Unicorn that Lived Among Early Humans

Our common pop culture depictions of unicorns show us a horse with a horn growing out of its forehead. This is so far-fetched that unicorns are considered completely mythical. But those myths were passed down from a very long time ago, so maybe there was another type of animal that had one horn. The closest thing we have today is the rhinoceros, and it didn't exist in Europe and Russia during the time the myth was born. But now we have a contender.

Meet the Siberian unicorn (Elasmotherium sibiricum), a huge herbivore that shared a common ancestor with rhinos, but were twice as large. No horns have been found, but the skulls found of the unicorn show a large base from which a enormous horn is thought to have grown. These animals also had huge back muscles that may have supported the horn, giving them a hunched look like a bison. Scientists initially dated the unicorn's extinction to 350,000 years ago, long before humans entered their Eurasian range. However, more recent research indicates E. Sibericum could have survived to as little as 35,000 years ago, in which case they would have overlapped with humans. Could this be the unicorn of myth and legend? Read about the Siberian unicorn at Discover magazine. -via Damn Interesting 

(Image credit: DiBgd

#unicorn #Elasmotheriumsibiricum #Siberianunicorn

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