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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Is this ancient animal the Unicorn inspiration source?

Unicorn is a mythical creature with a horse-shaped with single horn on his forehead. Which makes it special, the animal blood was said to be a panacea and is able to make a person live forever. Whether the unicorn is real or mythical mere, not known for sure.

However, recently scientists have discovered fossils of animals were remarkably similar appearance with the Unicorn. The fossilized bones thought to have come from a giant rhinoceros-like creature that died 350 thousand years ago.
The Siberian rhinoceros, Elasmotherium sibiricum (artist's impression pictured), is nicknamed the Siberian Unicorn due to the huge horn it is thought to have had on its head. Scientists previously thought it died out 350,000 years ago, but a new discovery suggests they survived in some areas until 26,000 years ago. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1YgbVv)
As quoted by the Daily Mail on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, the scientists say that species named Elasmotherium sibiricum was still alive in some regions in Kazakhstan until about 26 thousand years ago.

That's when the animals could be the size of a mammoth and weighs 5 tons that was known by humans. Early humans began to spread to Asia more than 50 thousand years ago and moved to Siberia at least 35 thousand years ago.
Researchers discovered the fossils alongside those of other prehistoric mammals including bison and mammoths close to the village of Kozhamazhar in Pavlodar Priirtysh, north east Kazakhstan (pictured). (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1YgbVv)
"It's probably the area south of Western Siberia a refuge, so this is where the rhino longest preserved compared to other places," said Dr. Andrei Shpanski, a paleontology experts of Tomsk State University, as well as leader of the study. He added that there is another possibility, that these animals migrate and live temporarily in the southern region more broadly.
The researchers analysed the skull fragments of a Siberian rhinoceros, Elasmotherium sibircum, found in the Pavlodar Priirtysh region Kazakhstan. Carbon dating revealed the fossil was just a little over 26,000 years old, meaning the animal had outlived others of its species by more than 320,000 years. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1YgbVv)
The researchers found fragments of a giant Siberian rhinoceros skulls near the village Kozhamazhar, Priirtysh Pavlodar region, in northeast Kazakhstan. The findings coincided with the relics of prehistoric bison and mammoths.

Although no horns have been found for
Elasmotherium sibircum, scientists have 
inferred they had them from skulls (horn 
reconstruction pictured at the Natural 
History Museum London). (Picture from:  
http://adf.ly/1YgbVv)
Elasmotherium sibircum allegedly spread widely in Siberia after appeared about 2.6 million years ago and the available evidence leads to the expectation that most of these species went extinct about 350 thousand years ago.

Their home is a vast region stretching from the River Don near Voronezh in Russia to the east side of Kazakhstan today. Fossilized relics show that the animal can reach a length of about 4.6 meters and a height of more than 2 meters.

Thus, this animal is one of the largest rhino ever lived. The size is larger than the woolly rhinoceros thought to have lived in the same timeframe.

Although no horn ever found, the research on the skull showed a bony lump that is suspected to be cornerstone of the keratin horn, similar to that of modern African rhino. And the horn allegedly could reach up to 90 cm in diameter with a length of several meters.

Paleontologists have also explained how they had heard stories about the Tatars in Siberia about the enormous horned unicorn that require the drag board to move. It could be Elasmotherium sibircum trigger a fairy tale about a unicorn. Animals were allegedly using the horns magnitude to drive the competitors and to remove snow from shrubs in the winter. It also has long legs so that it can run like a horse and not just forward ducking like a modern rhinoceros.

By using radio carbon dating, Dr. Shpanski and his colleagues found that the age of the parts of the skull was about 26,038 years old, and still quite young. Skull quite durable with some parts of cracks, but no signs have been worn. "Most likely, it is the males that are very large. The size of this rhino is the largest of which is in the writings, and the proportion is typical," said Dr. Shpanski.
The size comparison between Sibiricum Elasmotherium with modern humans and rhinos. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1YgcDc)
He added that the possibility of climate change in Siberia which resulted in many Elasmotherium sibircum dead, although local conditions in Kazakhstan allows the majority to survive.

This is not the first time the scientists find a final settlement of the ice age species suspected had long been extinct. Woolly mammoths thought to be extinct 12,000 years ago, but there are some that can last up to about 4,500 years ago on the island of Wrangle, Arctic sea, just north of Russia.

Dr. Shpanski said, "Our research customize understanding of the environmental conditions in the geological in general. Understanding of the past allows us to make more accurate predictions about natural processes in the future - still about climate change." *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | DAILYMAIL]
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