Can you imagine living with a giant, muscular, fury unicorn? Well, new evidence is suggesting that early humans did. Thought to have gone extinct 350,000 years ago, the ‘Siberian Unicorn’ (actually a rhinoceros) has been re-dated to only 29,000 years ago. This drastically changes it’s previously known timeline and shows just how little we actually know about early mammal and human existence.
The American Journal of Applied Sciences latest publication on the ‘Siberian Unicorn’ now suggests early humans lived alongside and potentially even hunted it. The ‘Unicorn’ would have been similar in size to todays African White Rhino. It could reach a weight of around 2 tons with a length of up to 4 meters and a height of 1.85m. With a large bump on the back of its forehead and thick fur covering its body, the ‘Siberian Unicorn’ had two horns. One small horn on it’s forehead and another extremely large, flat, curved one on its nose that could reach up to a shocking 1.3m in length.
The research team was able to re-date this incredible mammal thanks to the recent discovery of a new skull fragment in Kazakhstan. This suggests a population of them would have been living in southern Siberia long after the other northern[where previous fossils where found] unicorns had died.
“Most likely, the south of Western Siberia was a [refuge], where this rhino had preserved the longest in comparison with the rest of the range,” – Study Author Andrei Shpansky
The next step for the team is to conduct research and discover why the ‘Siberian Unicorn’ moved south. Was is due to drastic climate change, or did natural resources run out forcing it to seek refuge at new living grounds. This will help to better understand their role and interaction with humans as well.
“Understanding of the past allows us to make more accurate predictions about natural processes in the near future,” said Shpansky.
The mummified samples found in Siberia have helped researchers to learn details of the anatomy of wooly rhinoceros, such as their fur, horns and when and where they existed. There have also been cave paintings by Paleolithic artists of the Rhinoceros found, further confirming their existence alongside early humans.
It’s really amazing to imagine living with such a large, beautiful and unique mammal. Hunting one of these giant horned mammals with a spear and bow would have been a terrifying and surreal experience. Hopefully early humans didn’t over hunt them as they did with the Wooly Mammoth.