It is National Unicorn Day!

Today is National Unicorn Day! Starting today and every Friday going forward I’m going to tell you some of what I learned about unicorns in writing my forthcoming book On the Reality, Mythology, and Fantasies of Unicorns ( later this year)

Reality you say? Unicorns are a myth you say? Unicorns were real, once upon a time. Their scientific name is Elasmotherium. They lived in Europe and Asia. We have some bones which show them to have been massive, the size of mammoths. They had a single large horn on their forehead.

Around 13,000 years ago, in France, someone drew this sketch of an Elasmotherium. The sketch closely matches the bones we’ve found in the archaeological record. This is the only known picture of a real unicorn. They kept their heads down to graze.

Their legs were long, and so could run fast like a horse. The descriptions in the ancient Greek manuscripts match Elasmotherium rather nicely, as does the description given by Marco Polo. While we can’t prove this, yet, Elasmotherium may have survived into the historical era.

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