The mythical unicorn, “a symbol of purity and grace,” has been linked with a number of real-life animals.
The now-extinct Elasmotherium, a single-horned rhinoceros “native to the steppes, is one such association. Another is the narwhal, an Arctic sea animal with one long horn on its forehead.
The eland of Southern Africa is a huge antelope that has been known
to actually kill lions. Shamans have viewed elands as “having a strong connection to the other world,” and their horns have been sometimes attributed to unicorns.
The Bible repeatedly mentions a creature called the re’em, translated
as “unicorn” by the Authorized King James Version and as unicornis by the Vulgate. The unicorn became known as a beast “that can only be tamed by a virgin,” which became allegorically associated with the Virgin Mary.
The unicorn recently reared its fabled head when a single-antlered
roe deer was shot in Celje, Slovenia. Mail Online reports that its central-bone “deformity was likely caused by an injury when its antlers first grew.”
While not ostensibly "magical,” antler cells grow in “amazing” ways. In fact, antlers are “the most rapidly growing bones known in mammals.”
Copyright November 20, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved