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Monday, March 28

Nerd News | Unicorns were real!

Monday, March 28

Regardless of the fact that it actually looked more like a giant rhino than a horse, this is terrific news:

For decades, scientists have estimated that the Siberian unicorn—a long-extinct species of mammal that looked more like a rhino than a horse—died out some 350,000 years ago, but a beautifully preserved skull found in Kazakhstan has completely overturned that assumption. Turns out, these incredible creatures were still around as recently as 29,000 years ago.

Before we talk about the latest discovery, yes, there was a very real 'unicorn' that roamed Earth tens of thousands of years ago, but it was nothing like the one found in your favourite children’s book. (Sorry—it’s a bummer for us, too.) The real unicorn, Elasmotherium sibiricum, was shaggy and huge and looked just like a modern rhino, only it carried the most almighty horn on its forehead.
According to early descriptions, the Siberian unicorn stood at roughly 2 metres tall, was 4.5 metres long, and weighed about 4 tonnes. That’s closer to woolly mammoth-sized than horse-sized. Despite its very impressive stature, the unicorn probably was a grazer that ate mostly grass. So, if you want a correct image in your head, think of a fuzzy rhinoceros with one long, slender horn protruding from its face instead of a short, stubby one like today’s rhinos.

The newly found skull, which was remarkably well-preserved, was found in the Pavlodar region of Kazakhstan. Researchers from Tomsk State University were able to date it to around 29,000 years ago via radiocarbon dating techniques. Based on the size and condition of the skull, it was likely a very old male, they suggest, but how it actually died remains unknown. (via)1
How great is this? (You know, aside from the fact that they went extinct ...)

To all the unicorn haters 2 out there:

Also of note:

1Thanks, Jennie!
2I don't really believe that these people exist.
3Thanks, Colt!

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