Unicorns are legendary creatures often mentioned in various ancient myths, but did these animals really exist?
A new study revealed unicorns were in fact real, but they looked a little different than what we imagined them to look like.
A Siberian unicorn fossil, Elasmotherium sibiricum was discovered in Kazakhstan. Up until now, researchers thought the creature went extinct 350,000 years ago, but these studies have revealed the unicorn existed around the same time early humans did.
The Siberian unicorn was a combination of a rhino and a mammoth. Analyzing the skull from the Pavlodar region of Kazakhstan, researchers found this particular specimen to have died just 29,000 years ago.
How was this one able to survive while others were long gone? Research suggest the area where this specimen was found could have been a “refugium,” or a place in Kazakhstan where the animals had a better chance of survival.
Migration may have played a role as well. According to CS Monitor, the part of Kazakhstan where the fossil was found may have been a “comparatively gentle microclimate.” While the rest of the species lived in a much harsher climate.
“Our research makes adjustments in the understanding of the environmental conditions in the geologic time in general,” Andrew Shpanski, the study’s lead author said in a statement. “Understanding of the past allows us to make more accurate predictions about natural processes in the near future.”
More specifically, Shpanski said, this glimpse at such a resilient animal has implications for climate change.