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Giant Unicorn Discovery in Siberia
 By Saferaphus   •   9th May 2016   •   1,438 views   •   1 comments


Weíve discussed unicorns before, havenít we? And, we know that throughout history the word unicorn may have meant a slightly different type of animal than we think of now. Over the last few hundred years, unicorns have been depicted or described as a white horse-like creature, perhaps with cloven hooves, and an elegant horn in the middle of its forehead. They have been symbols of royalty, purity and magic. But, science is serving up quite a different picture of unicorns, and itís not as romantic as the one weíve come to know.

Siberia sounds like a cold and barren place. But, apparently, there is quite a lot of research going on there. There are many sites of fossilized remains and recently, a fossil from the Late Cenozoic was found that suggests that a unicorn-like creature may have roamed the earth at the same time humans were around. That has scientists rethinking how this animal may have evolved and that early ancestors of humans may have lived alongside them.

Related: Have Unicorns Ever Roamed The Planet [Video]

The Giant Siberian unicorn, or Elasmotherium sibiricum was first thought to have disappeared 350,000 years ago. But the specimen scientists have been examining is thought to be only 29,000 years old. Humans started migrating into Asia about 50,000 years ago and may have made it into the range of E. Sibiricium about 35,000 years ago. That means that humans and E. Sibiricum may have crossed paths. During the Late Cenozoic period, the ancestors of modern horses (Mesohippus) were still a bit dog-like, had three toes on each foot, where short necked and ate leaves, rather than grass.

The image of the poor unicorn may take some dents as E, Sibiricum looks more like delicate white unicorn's thug cousin. E.sibricum was thought to look more like a rhinoceros than a horse. And, it was more like a wooly mammoth in size. Itís thought to have stood about six and a half feet tall, and was over twice as long. Its horn appears to be far from the graceful unicorn of myth, but brutally stout and upcurving. Artist depictions show a shaggy, coarse, uphill beast with feet much like an elephant's.

Could E. sibiricum be related to the modern horse? It is possible, although literature on E. Sibricum doesnít specifically elaborate on this. E. sibricum appears to be related to the rhino, which is believed to be a close relative of the horse, along with tapirs and the extinct perissodactyls. One of the most common characteristics of all of these animals, besides being mammals, is that they all have an odd number of toes, unlike deer, cattle and goats which have an even number of toes. Their teeth are all of a type most efficient for grinding plant matter. Interestingly, a perissodactyl called the Brontothere also has an antler like protrusion on the lower part of its face. So there is another somewhat horse-like creature with a Ďhorní too.

While no one has yet found the type of unicorn suggested by legend, new discoveries are being made. Who knows what will be found in the next layer of sandstone along a creek bed.

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http://thescipub.com/PDF/ajassp.2016.189.199.pdf
http://phys.org/news/2016-03-siberian-unicorn.html
http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/giant-siberian-unicorn-may-have-existed-same-time-humans-fossilized-skull-hints
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