Mystical Unicorns

The name unicorn comes from the latin description of this mythological animal: “uni” translate to “single” and “cornus” translate to “horn”. The unicorn is a magical creature which has several characteristics. The most common description is that the unicorn resembles a horse with a single spiral horn growing out from the animal’s forehead. Furthermore the animal can be recognized by its cloven hoofs and lion’s tail. It usually has a little goat beard and it is often white. Unicorns often have magical abilities and are also known to be able to talk. According to the legend only a virgin woman can tame the unicorn.

During Medieval times the unicorn’s horn was believed to be magical and to cure both poisons and diseases. The horn was called “alicorn”. To make sure that you really had purchased a real alicorn, several test could be performed. For example if a true horn where put in water, small bubble would arise from the horn, just like if the water would be boiling, though the water, in fact, was cold. Another example is that a real horn sweats in the present of poison. Also poisonous plants and animals close to the horn would burst into pieces and die.

There are several explanations concerning the existence of unicorns. The most common however, include the narwhal (Monodon monoceros). This peculiar mammal grows a spiral tooth from its upper jaw, which resembles a spiral horn. Indeed, many of the false alicorn did in fact come from narwhals. Only the male grows the tooth and the tooth can reach the astonishingly length of 2 to 3 meters. It is believed that the tooth may function as a weapon during courtships and rivalry between males or may be used as an amplifier for the sonar pulses that they can emit, just like dolphins.

Other explanations include old skeleton from the extinct Giant unicorn (Elasmotherium), which resembled a small horse with a single horn attached to its forehead. The Giant unicorn was in fact a rhinoceros which lived in Europe and Asia and it went extinct during the last Ice Age. According to old legends however, species of the Wolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis) are said to still live in remote parts of Africa.

A third and final explanation simply claims that unicorns are scientific mistakes, such as a mutant goat or a horse with a severe tumor in its forehead and that unicorn skeletons and written testimonies from all around the world (from cave paintings to statement from today) simply are a product of hoaxes or an over productive imagination.

However, even if logical and rational explanations exist to explain the existence of unicorns, one can but wonder: After all, all of the earth animals and plants has not yet been discovered by scientists, and there is an awful lot of uninvestigated forests and other natural habitat where a little white magical horse easily can hide.


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