Scientists have known about the Siberian unicorn—Elasmotherium sibiricum—for ages. They believed the huge, pointy beast lived around 350,000 years ago. They were wrong.
A new study published in the American Journal of Applied Sciences discusses the incredible find of a fossilized skull in Kazakhstan. Paleontologists have previously deduced from other finds that these guys were about 15 feet long, 6 or 7 feet tall, and around 8,000 pounds. Weirdly, I feel that would have been a more appropriate companion for me when I was a virgin than some dainty-ass horse.
Anyway, turns out these dudes didn’t go extinct 350,000 years ago. According to carbon dating on this animal’s brain mansion, it was more like 29,000. Still a lot, but that’s a pretty significant jump. Like, it seems a surmountable amount of distance to go when time travel is invented. Mashable reports on what this means for unicorn chasers everywhere:
“Most likely, the south of Western Siberia was a [refuge], 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,” said [Andrey] Shpanksi, who published his team’s findings in the American Journal of Applied Sciences, in a statement.
The team is hoping the discovery will help them understand how environmental factors contribute to an animal’s extinction.
“Our research makes adjustments in the understanding of the environmental conditions in the geologic time in general,” Shpanksi said. “Understanding of the past allows us to make more accurate predictions about natural processes in the near future.”
No! Let’s not use a unicorn to figure out more about climate change bummers. Let’s mount it and ride it to a better world in our imaginations.
Extinction comes either way. Believe in unicorns.
Image via Wikipedia.
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