Creating unicorns

You can imagine the delight in the English royal family when two unicorns were sent to the then crown prince from the crown of Nepal.

You can then imagine the disappointment when the truth of their existence was revealed. The “unicorns” in the above image are a pair of Barwal sheep, not unicorns at all. When the sheep are very young, a small surgery is performed on their horn buds which causes the horns to grow together and fuse. This sort of surgery was performed on cows in ancient Egypt, and is still performed on cows by the Dinka and Nuer peoples.

The modified Barwal sheep are highly prized by the wealthy in Nepal, and are sold at exorbitant fees.

It is possible that the many travel reports of finding unicorns in the Himalayas came from travelers encountering a herd of Barwal sheep in ignorance.

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