A new research reveals that the giant Siberian unicorn, which is now extinct, existed and roamed the earth more recently than previously believed.
Paleontologists previously said that the elasmotherium Siberian rhinoceros, or Elasmotherium sibiricum, was extinct 350,000 years ago. But a new research, conducted by a team of experts at Tomsk State University, shows that the unicorn may have existed some 29,000 years ago. The conclusion was arrived at after the remains of the specimen, found in Western Siberia, were radiocarbon dated. The study was published in the American Journal of Applied Sciences.
What this means is that the Siberian unicorn was not extinct when humans were around; something that was confirmed by the discovery of the human fossil, uncovered in western Siberia in 2008, which was dated back to 45,000 years ago, according to Discovery News.
“Most likely, the south of Western Siberia was a refúgium [refuge], where this rhino persevered the longest in comparison with the rest of its range,” Andrei Shpanski, a paleontologist at TSU, said in a press release. “There is another possibility that it could migrate and dwell for a while in the more southern areas,” the paleontologist said.
Experts said that the animal could have existed in an area that spread from the Don river to the east of modern Kazakhstan. They had “quite a long existence” in the southeast of the west Siberian plain, TSU said based on the remains from the animal in Kazakhstan.
According to Wired.co.uk, the ancient Siberian unicorns was first thought to have come from India. However, the tablets discovered from Indus Valley that depicted unicorns show that they actually were aurochs, which are cattle bearing two horns. These tablets show the animals in profile, meaning that their two horns appear as one. In 2008, a “unicorn deer” was discovered in Italy; but was later found to be a mutation or “the result of some kind of trauma in the early life of the deer.”