SubscribeGift a Sub
Enable cache 100
Categories: Horse News

Siberian Unicorn Fossil Discovered in Kazakhstan

By Heinrich Harder (1858-1935) (The Wonderful Paleo Art of Heinrich Harder) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Unicorns are real, and we’re not just talking about the one who ran amok in a Northern California town a few weeks back. The Siberian Unicorn (Elasmotherium sibiricum) is—or at least it was—a real creature, and paleontologists now believe that it could have coexisted with our ancestors.

This species dates back as far as 2.5 million years ago, and until recently, experts believed it was wiped out 350,000 years ago. But a partial skull found in Kazakhstan by researchers from Tomsk State University was dated at just 29,000 years old. That means the species may have crossed paths with early humans who may have migrated into Asia by that time, says

So what were these creatures that your great-great-great (and so on) grandparents may have spotted on the steppes one day, thousands of years ago? It was not equine in nature, but rather more like a rhinoceros. A big one. According to paleontologist Shaena Montanari writing for, specimens of Siberian Unicorns have been found that were up to 15 feet long and weighed 8,000-10,000 pounds.

But it’s the animal’s magnificent horn that makes it so unique and gives it its modern name. Based on the fossils, it appears the Siberian Unicorn’s giant horn—which could be multiple feet in length—was located higher up on the animal’s head rather than at the end of the nose as seen on modern rhinos.

Was the creature magical? We’ll never know for sure.

Leslie Potter

Leslie Potter is a graduate of William Woods University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Equestrian Science with a concentration in saddle seat riding and a minor in Journalism/Mass Communications. She is currently a writer and photographer in Lexington, Ky.Potter worked as a barn manager and riding instructor and was a freelance reporter and photographer for the Horsemen's Yankee Pedlar and Saddle Horse Report before moving to Lexington to join Horse Illustrated as Web Editor from 2008 to 2019. Her current equestrian pursuits include being a grown-up lesson kid at an eventing barn and trail riding with her senior Morgan gelding, Snoopy.

View Comments

Recent Posts

2024 Paris Olympics: Q&A with Hallye Griffin, US Equestrian Chef de Mission

A member of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) team since 2011, Hallye Griffin was appointed as the Director of…

35 mins ago

2024 Paris Olympics: Equestrian Sports’ Close Ties With Paris

The 33rd modern Olympics being hosted by Paris is fitting since the city will host the Games for a third…

1 day ago

2024 Paris Olympics: Q&A with Adrienne Lyle of the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team

Making her third Olympic appearance for the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team, Adrienne Lyle will arrive in Paris with two new…

3 days ago

2024 Paris Olympics: Latest News

Check out Horse Illustrated's latest updates from the 2024 Paris Olympics on equestrian sports for the three disciplines of dressage,…

3 days ago

Vet Adventures: High-Altitude Rescue, Part 3

Read Vet Adventures: High-Altitude Rescue, Part 1 and Vet Adventures: High-Altitude Rescue, Part 2 for the first two installments of Doreen’s…

4 days ago

BreyerFest 2024: Celebrate with Blue Zeus Limited Edition Figure Model and Clare Staples of Skydog Ranch & Sanctuary

LEXINGTON, KY – BreyerFest 2024, the annual celebration of all things equestrian, will feature an exciting new addition this year:…

4 days ago