According to the latest archaeological findings in Kazakhstan, unicorns did exist. Of course, they were more related to the rhinoceros than the horse, but they did roam the Earth 29,000 years ago alongside humans.
Researchers discovered a fossilized skull in Kazakhstan recently, and the remains are prompting them to rewrite history as we know it. It seems that there might be some truth behind the unicorn myth although the real thing was a little bit scarier than the fairytale version.
The Elasmotherium sibiricum, or the Siberian unicorn, was a massive creature. According to the estimates of the scientists, the animal was 6.5 feet (approximately 2 meters) tall and 15 feet (roughly 4.5 meters) long. The archaeologists believe that the Siberian unicorn weighed somewhere around 9.000 pounds or around 4 tons.
Researchers concluded that the Elasmotherium sibiricum became extinct roughly 350,00 years ago. But the new evidence that was recently unearthed suggests that the animal was actually still around when humans started roaming the Earth 29,000 years ago.
The area in which these massive creatures spend their time was the region between what is now known as Russia’s Don River and the eastern part of Kazakhstan.
The fossilized remains were found in Kazakhstan’s Pavlodar region. And since the first humans were believed to have roamed Asia as far as 50,000 years ago, they are thought to have reached Siberia over 35,000 years ago. This means that the early humans and the Siberian unicorn lived together for about 6,000 years.
The fossilized skull of the Elasmotherium sibiricum was very well preserved. It did not show any signs of exfoliation or gnawing, and it probably belonged to a large, male individual. The teeth were unfortunately not preserved.
But the scientists are still puzzled by the large gap that was created by the discovery. How did a couple of individuals survive for such a long time and leave so few clues about their presence throughout the centuries?
There are a couple of theories that tackle the subject, the most generally acknowledged one in the scientific community is that stating that a small number of specimens migrated towards the southern parts of West Siberia where they found refuge against whatever it was that brought their peers to extinction.
Unicorns did exist, but they were bigger, stronger and rougher than the white, glittery image we have of them today. Judging by their proportions and their horns, they were probably not a sight that would inspire comfort, joy or magic.
Image source: Wikimedia