It did not look much like a dainty-the Myth and legend of unicorns, unicorn of Siberia-the-pocket extinct even more entrancing for the palaeontologist.
Now, for the-first time, Scientists have analysed budgets DNA – and everyone thought realised Been wrong about-the mysterious Beast.
The ancient rhinoceros did not die off 200,000 years ago, before-the last Ice Age – as Previously we thought. The Strange Animals survived much, much longer, disappearing-only as Recently as 36,000 years ago. In fact, They Could Humans have lived alongside modern.
Moreover it, Siberian-the unicorn was not, as thought Been thought, Related closely to modern rhinos, a unique pocket That lineages split from The modern rhinos That line led to over 40 million years ago.
Until now, Our Knowledge of-the unicorn (Elasmotherium sibiricum) Has Been stymied because of Lack of-the fossil record.
Only a FEW Have Been fragmented bones recovered, and Apart From Revealing-the size of the-Beast – around 3.5 tonnes, the-range Same as a smaller African elephant – thoses Have Been Difficult to analyze.
For example, part of a skull in a 2016 paper described That Was Was radiocarbon dated up to 29,000 years ago, pocket because theres so little collagen Was, Was The results considered unreliable.
So an international team of 23 Siberian Researchers Collected unicorn bone specimens and subjected them to radiocarbon dating, to see ow They Could Recover DNA and find out more about the-Siberian unicorn budgets and time on Earth.
The results were surprising: They were dated to a range of times an after Animals were thought to BE the-extinct, With The grape recent being Between 35,000 to 36,000 years ago. By this time, thought Humans Started populating the-steppe of Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Northern China.
But Humans likely thought-nothing to do With The animal's disappearance.
"If we look at timing, it's During a Period of Climate Change, Which was not extreme, boot the new Cause a Whole Bunch of much colder Winters That we think really altered-the Extent of-the-GRASSLAND in-the area," Alan Cooper of The Australian Center for Ancient DNA at-the University of Adelaide explained to ScienceAlert.
"We can see ALSO change in the-the-the-isotopes in bones of-the Animals – you can see and Measure-the carbon and nitrogen in the-the-bones and we can see That Was the grass-only eating."
At around-the Same time, in-the-Other Animal That Started ate grass area to switch their Diets to herb, shrubs and Other VEGETATION WHATEVER They Could sink their Teeth Into, not pocket the-Siberian unicorn. The CEPT on munching on grass, even as, the-Researchers Believe, encroaching permafrost killed it off.
"The unicorn look like Print Thing Was so specialised to eat grass to survive Could not," Cooper said.
"Its head Was a whopping great big Thing, it Was kind of extended really really low, sitting right at height grease, so it really does not have to lift budgets head up. Theres's question of WHETHER it Could even lift budgets head used for ! it Once Was highly specialist so the Environment shifted it appears to have increased out. "
We do not know how big participants ran-the animal's horn, no horn Since Has Ever been found. However, part of the-the-the-horn wherein skull would have grown Has Been recovered, With an absolutely massive base. Based on Comparison With living Horned Animals, Siberian-the unicorn's horn Could Have Been up to 1 meter (3.3 Feet) in length.
Combined with big budgets, heavy head, horn Print Could have made towards Reaching Higher foliages even more Difficult for-the ancient rhino. But ow lineages Was budgets of millions of tense-years old, survived severals thought-the Species Climate Change Already events.
Exactly why Print particulars, relatively mild cooling Was That event-the straw broke the back-the unicorn's still a bit of a mystery, and one to Research That Will take more unravels. But it does constitute a warning we would do well to heeds.
"The Thing worrying about it on the shows you do not have to have to have major Climate Change Responses VEGETATION That can wipes out a Species – Print and the thought before Humans RESTRICTED Animals' ranges. Can you Imagine What Will Happen Today?" Cooper said.
"That's why people are Looking at Large grasslands Suchi as Africa. But what about Food Production? Similar kind of stuff – Once These Climate Change Getting the start-the way the Environment can have some pretty big impacts and quickly."
The team's Research Has Been Published in the-journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.