From fairy tales and even some religious texts of yore, we hear of a magnificent horse-like flying creature with one horn protruding from between the eyes. This creature is known as a unicorn it’s supposed to possess magical characteristics. According to some cultures, unicorns will sometimes have a pair of firm wings on their sides and notable biungulate hooves. Unicorns are also depicted as being white in color for some reason. Some even say that unicorns are mystical, supernatural, and even immortal.
The very name of a unicorn appears to have a Hebrew origin which later evolved to ‘unicorns’ and later changed to ‘unicorn’ which is supposed to mean ‘one horn’. Then again, there are many horned animals out there and it only takes one deformed skeleton to fuel the debate further.
As late as the 16th century, merchants would sometimes have unicorn horn powder on sale as it was believed to possess many magical and health benefits. To capture them, a virgin maiden was often used as bait as they (unicorns) are believed to have a natural attraction to virgins for whatever reason. Nobody really knows how these unicorn-hunting sessions would go about or what traps other than virgins they used to capture the unicorns, but let’s not delve into it too much.
Historical and Scientific Evidence
Unicorn or Rhinoceros?
Scientific historical evidence has it that the fossils of a creature with a uni-horn and a strong body once existed in the Middle East. Many believed at the time that this was evidence of the unicorn’s existence but the bones were later proven to be either an endangered white rhino species from Africa or the Indian rhinoceros who somehow found its way South. Despite the evidence, there are still people out there who continue to believe that the origin of these bones was somehow misinterpreted.
Narwhal Whale Theory
Trying to explain the origin of the unicorn legend, some scientists suggested that the legendary one-horned creature might actually have something in common with the narwhal whale. You see, the narwhal whale is in a sense, on the same morphological stage as the mythological unicorn. This being said, it is highly possible that people found narwhal bones in areas from which the ocean retreated over time, thus confusing the bones with those of land-based creatures.
According to research, a narwhal whale contains whale DNA almost entirely, which is why such a mistake would be impossible to make nowadays. It isn’t hard to understand, however, how people could unravel these bones, see the horn between the skull’s eyes, and presume that it had something to do with any mythological creatures they have heard of. It is also possible that horse skeletons from later on could have been present in the area, therefore confusing people even further.