Unicorns Were Real, But Didn’t Look Like What You’d Expect

Unicorns were real? Yes, but they were hideous. (It’s okay to cry – we’re bummed too.) Turns out the real unicorn, Elasmotherium sibiricum, looked more like a gigantic, hairy rhino than the sparkly, rainbow-colored horse of our 4-year-old daydreams.

Siberian Unicorn
The Guardian

A well-preserved Siberian unicorn skull was recently discovered in Kazakhstan. The discovery, outlined in a new study from the American Journal of Applied Sciences, suggests the Siberian unicorn roamed the earth as recently as 29,000 years ago. This busts the original theory that suggested the species went extinct 350,000 years ago.

The Siberian unicorn was large – woolly mammoth large – at 6 feet tall, 15 feet long and nearly 4 tons.  Despite its monster size, it most likely grazed on grass.  To accurately picture think big, fuzzy rhino with a long, slender horn.

Sibirean Unicorn2

With this new discovery, scientists are now interested in how it survived so long.

“Most likely, the south of Western Siberia was a [refuge], where this rhino had preserved the longest in comparison with the rest of the range,” said Tomsk State University scientist Andrei Shpansky, who published the findings.
The team is hoping the discovery will help them understand environmental factors that played a part in the eventual extinction of the species, and the role migration played in its survival.