Unicorns, those mythical creatures which were a part of European and Asian folklore, never existed in real life. Imagine the surprise, then, when a hunter shoots down an animal that has an uncanny resemblance to the mythical unicorn! That is exactly what happened in Celje, Slovenia earlier this August when a hunter shot down a roe deer and approached the animal for closer inspection. He was amazed to find that the animal he just shot had a single antler – with an uncanny resemblance to the mythical unicorn.
According to National Geographic, the animal, which has been confirmed to be a roe deer, had an extremely rare antler deformity that caused it to look like a unicorn. The report says that the reason for the single antler could likely have been an injury that the animal might have received at an early stage in the development of the antlers. The report adds that injuries like these are common and usually lead to several types of antler abnormalities – including this one that made the deer resemble a unicorn.
That said, scientists who later examined the dead animal said that for an animal to resemble the unicorn so closely is very rare. Slovenian scientist Boštjan Pokorny, who also works as the assistant director of the ecological research institute ERICo Velenje, verified the animal’s authenticity and said he has never seen anything like it in nature.
He adds, in an email sent to the National Geographic,
“In this species, only males grow antlers, which are bilateral and usually symmetrical bone structures that appear from two antler pedicles, i.e. extensions of the skull. However, in the case of this very untypical and interesting buck, both pedicles, which should be separated, grew up together in one large pedicle.”
Roe deer are pretty abundant across Slovenia and the government allows citizens to hunt down a limited number of animals each year.
According to Guns.com, the hunter initially did not notice that the deer resembled a unicorn. He did, however, notice that it only had a single antler. The animal was also chosen because it looked aged.
All said, the discovery of this single-antlered, unicorn-like roe deer has raised questions regarding the existence of unicorns. Could it be possible that in older times, animals with deformities like these were the reason for the myth of the unicorn to emerge?
[Image Via EVA KLEVSKA/ National Geographic]