9 Mythical Creatures and Their Surprising Documented History
A unicorn is just a horse with a horn, right?
They are a habitual presence in fairy tales, children dream of riding one and play with toys resembling their image. It’s safe to say unicorns are not monsters, but they are indeed intriguing mythical creatures.
With different names, unicorns appear in local folklore throughout the globe, as a mighty horse with one single horn in the middle of its forehead, endowed with magical powers (16).
Meet the okapis, a species of bizarre deer-like animals, an unsuspecting combination between a giraffe, zebra, and antelope that inhabit the African rain forests. The male okapi has two antlers which, if seen sideways and from a distance, can easily be mistaken for one horn (10).
Until 1901, only Congo rain forest natives knew of their existence (17), and for centuries, Europeans believed they stood as proof to the existence of unicorns.
Okapis are not the only animals that inspired unicorn legends. Narwhal tusks, the arctic whales with long spiraled tusks, were believed to be the relatives of unicorns and were considered proof to their existence (18).
More recently, in 2008, a baby deer was born with one single horn in the middle of its head at a wildlife preserve in the town of Prato, Italy (22).