Thanks to a comprehensive study by scientists at the Natural History Museum, it has been revealed that massive, 3.5-ton Unicorns roamed the Earth in the distant past alongside humans, reports the Sun.
Scientists radiocarbon dated a complete skull of the so-called Siberian Unicorn and were left surprised by their findings.
It has long been thought that the 3.5-ton animal was wiped out from existence more than 100,000 years ago. However, the latest study reveals the animal coexisted with humans right up until some 35,000 years ago.
The ‘Unicorns’ were not your typical ‘white horse with a big horn attached to the forehead’ as popular culture depicts them. Instead, the unicorn was actually an ancient rhino species dubbed Elasmotherium sibericum.
These creatures were thought to have perished between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago, but a “beautiful complete skull” at the Natural History Museum revealed data that suggests the creatures lived until ‘recently’, and may have walked alongside humans.
According to Professor Adrian Lister, an expert in evolution and extinction, “giant of the Ice Age” survived much later than previously thought.
He said: “We dated a few specimens – such as the beautiful complete skull we have at the museum – and to our surprise, they came in at less than 40,000 years old.”
The findings were corroborated by fellow scientists from the Uk, the Netherlands as well as Russia, who radiocarbon-dated as many as 23 ancient specimens.
The research revealed that the species “survived until at least 39,000 years ago, and possibly as late as 35,000 years ago.”
In a statement detailing the discovery, the Natural History Museum said the final days of the ancient rhino species “were shared with early modern humans and Neanderthals”.
“It is, however, unlikely that the presence of humans was the cause of extinction,” experts wrote.
“Instead, it is more probable that dramatic fluctuations in climate during this time period, coupled with the specialized grazing lifestyle and the rhinos’ naturally low population numbers pushed the species to the edge.”