Unicorns Do Exist!
Fairy princesses, Professor Quirrell, and Ross Geller, rejoice! For decades paleontologists thought the Siberian unicorn (Elasmotherium sibiricum) died out around 350,000 years ago, but a very well preserved skull proved that these majestic creatures were galavanting about as recently as 29,000 years ago. Although these unicorns definitely existed, unfortunately, they don’t look like anything like the unicorns from the stories you are used to.
The Siberian unicorn was massive, standing at more than six and half feet (2 meters), almost 15 feet in length (4.5 meters), and weighing a whopping 9,000 pounds (4,080 kilograms). So it’s bit closer to being an elephant than a horse, c’est la vie. Their fur also wasn’t a flowing, neatly groomed coat of Santa Claus’s white beard hair, but rather had shaggy hair like a rhinoceros. Sort of like this…
They were probably grazers, eating mostly grass. The one found by those at the Tomsk State University was an older male and his cause of death is unknown. This particular Siberian unicorn was posted up in Kazakhstan around the time that modern humans came on the scene and dogs were domesticated. #squadgoals
The question that remains is how did this magnificent super-sized rhino live so much longer than his unlucky brethren? Researchers hypothesize that by moving south and migrating much further than thought possible, this little guy and his fam survived. Understanding how homeboy escaped extinction from environmental factors for hundreds of thousands of years may give us humans some life hacks on how to adapt to a changing climate. (Side note: This week climate change scientists from the University of Hawaii at Manoa announced that the last time carbon emissions were this high, the dinosaurs were going extinct. Even though the dinosaurs and three-quarters of the world's plant and animal species had thousands of years to adapt to changing temperatures, rather than a few decades like us, they still couldn't quite handle the changes.)
Nonetheless, you may have stopped believing in unicorns, but they never stopped believing in you!