It’s often hard to form clear mental pictures of animals — both mythological and otherwise — from Earth’s distant past, but the unicorn definitely bucks the trend. We have no trouble picturing horned white horses with flowing manes galloping across lush, green landscapes. Sadly, these stunning creatures live and die in the mind’s eye…or do they?
Research now suggests that unicorns did actually exist, but they weren’t nearly as pretty as the ones in fairytales. Universe, meet Elasmotherium sibiricum, otherwise known as the Siberian unicorn.
This animal lived somewhere between 2.9 million and 29,000 years ago, and it resembled the modern-day rhinoceros.
Measuring 6 feet tall and 15 feet long, there’s no question that they were a far cry from the fictional unicorns we know and love today.
Shown below in light gray, it’s clear that the Siberian unicorn was a hulking creature.
Today, replicas can be found across Asia. Kazakhstan has a particular fondness for the animal, since researchers in the country have uncovered the remains of 30 Siberian unicorns.
But it’s the most recent discovery that scientists find particularly fascinating.
They just found another Siberian unicorn skull which they believe to be 29,000 years old. For that reason, researchers are willing to suggest that humans walked the Earth alongside these beasts at one point. Pretty crazy, isn’t it?
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