ByMichelle Siouty, writer at Creators.co

Besides Borat, Kazakhstan is also the home of a recently discovered skull that paleontologists are calling Elasmotherium sibiricum. Or you can call it the Siberian unicorn.

Does that mean real-life unicorns once existed? Yes, but they don't match the image we have of the mythical creature found in fairytales.

A painting from the 1920s by Heinrich Harder showing what the Siberian unicorn might have looked like.
A painting from the 1920s by Heinrich Harder showing what the Siberian unicorn might have looked like.

The Siberian unicorn resembles a rhino, but it was similar in stature to a woolly mammoth. It was 6.5 feet tall and nearly 15 feet long, weighing up to 9,000 pounds. It's most distinguishable feature is its single horn, which is longer than a rhino's. It wandered the large area between the Don River in Russia and what is the eastern part of Kazakhstan today.

It is estimated that the Siberian unicorn disappeared around 350,000 years ago, while researchers from Tomsk State University in Siberia think that humans and this creature might have existed on Earth at the same time.

A Siberian unicorn's reconstructed skull and horn.
A Siberian unicorn's reconstructed skull and horn.

The intact fossil was found in the Pavlodar Irtysh region of Kazakhstan and is estimated to be around 29,000 years old. Andrey Shpanski, a paleontologist at the university, says:

"Most likely, it was a very large male of very large individual age. The dimensions of this rhino are the biggest of those described in the literature, and the proportions are typical."

Shpanski goes on to explain how the Siberian unicorn was able to live so long after the rest of the species was thought to be extinct:

"Most likely, the south of Western Siberia was a refúgium, where this rhino persevered the longest in comparison with the rest of its range. There is another possibility that it could migrate and dwell for a while in the more southern areas."
This is the first published restoration of Elasmotherium sibiricum.
This is the first published restoration of Elasmotherium sibiricum.

Does that mean unicorns exist? Well, at least, once existed? It appears to be so, but not the same white, horse-like creature found in the fairytales that we've grown up with.

[Source: mother nature network, Phys.org]

Trending

Latest from our Creators