A Modern Day Unicorn?

A deer with only one horn has been spotted in a nature reserve in Italy, sparking new interest in the mythology surrounding unicorns.

Gilberto Tozzi, the director of the Center of Natural Sciences in Prato, believes that cases such as this may have inspired tales of the magical creature, saying, ‘This is fantasy becoming reality…. this shows that even in past times, there could have been animals with this anomaly - it's not like they dreamed it up.’

The history that lies behind the unicorn legends has both Christian and pagan origins. The most well-known version relates that the horn had magical healing properties and was therefore a highly-valued hunting prize. In order to capture one of the creatures, men would prey on its one weakness: a virgin maiden.

Drawn to only the pure and innocent the unicorn would approach a beautiful virgin who’d been planted in a forest by wicked noblemen. Once it had laid its head upon her lap the men would emerge from their hiding and capture their prize.

Many compare the plight of endangered species nowadays to the persecution of the fabled beasts, believing the desire for their horn to be similar to the modern-day destructive ivory trade.

Watch a video of the ‘unicorn deer’ here: http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/06/11/unicorn-deer-italy.html

Picture source

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