Siberian Unicorn May Have Lived Longer Than Previously Thought

Posted: Mar 29 2016, 6:53am CDT | by , Updated: Mar 29 2016, 7:51pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Siberian Unicorn May Have Lived Longer than Previously Thought
A painting from Heinrich Harder shows what the Siberian unicorn might have looked like

Siberian unicorns roamed the Earth 29,000 years ago. It has been long thought that the giant prehistoric creature died out 350,000 years ago.

The Siberian unicorn was thought to have become extinct 350,000 years ago. But new research has completely overturned that assumption and reflected that the animal may have lived longer than originally thought. Researchers have found a well-preserved skull of Siberian unicorn in Kazakhstan, indicating that the creature might have been around as recently as 29,000 years ago. 

The Siberian unicorn or Elasmotherium sibiricum roamed the Earth tens of thousands of years ago during the Middle Pleistocene but the animal was nothing like the mythical unicorn which is seen in books or cartoons. It was a huge, furry creature with a horn on its forehead.

Researchers suggest that E. sibiricum may have disappeared from the world long times ago expect western Siberia where they may have survived thousands of more years than rest of its range. 

“Most likely, the south of Western Siberia was a refúgium, where this rhino persevered the longest in comparison with the rest of its range. There is another possibility that it could migrate and dwell for a while in the more southern areas.” Paleontologist Andre Shpanski from Tomsk State University (TSU) said.

The skull, which was recently examined, was recovered from Kozhamzhar village in Pavlodar region (Kazakhstan) and it was possibly the fossil remain of a very large male unicorn.

Siberian unicorn was a giant prehistoric creature which looked similar to rhinoceros and was almost the size of a woolly mammoth. It stood roughly 2 meters tall and weighed about 4 tons. The animal existed in the vast territory from Don River to the east of modern Kazakhstan. 

Researchers used radiocarbon dating techniques to date recently discovered fossil to around 29,000. Radiocarbon dating is a technique which determines the age of an object by using organic material. 

“Our research makes adjustments in the understanding of the environmental conditions in the geologic time in general,” said Shpanski. “Understanding of the past allows us to make more accurate predictions about natural processes in the near future- it also concerns climate change.”

 The results of the study was published in American Journal of Applied Sciences.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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