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Neanderthal "unicorn" lived next to the first humans



An extinct giant rhino, described on some occasions as "Siberian unicorn" He lived on the planet for a much longer time than scientists thought initially, as revealed by a new investigation.

A study published Monday in the magazine Nature Ecology & Evolution explained that the Hairy creature wandered somewhere between humans, surviving in eastern Europe and western Asia until now 39,000 years, approximately during the same time of the neanderthals and modern first humans.

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The latest findings used radiocarbon dating and genetic analysis in 23 specimens of rhinoceros to reveal the life of the mysterious Elasmotherium sibiricum of 3.8 tonnes, which was believed to have been extinct some 200,000 years ago.

According to the results, the "Siberian unicorn" -which would have lived in modern Russia and its ranges of movement spread to areas in Mongolia, northern China and Kazakhstann- it was extinguished by the environmental changes that affected the type of pastures and herbs that used to eat. This is how the study authors explained in The Conversation.

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The researchers explained that the animal, whose horn could measure up to one meter longIt was difficult for him to change his pasture diet.

"Families (from the" Siberian unicorn ") as the woolly rhinoceros always ate a more balanced variety of plants and were much less affected by a change in their habitat," they said.

They also clarified that humans were not the cause of the extinction of this species.

An illustration of Elasmotherium by Heinrich Harder, circa 1908.

"In addition to this, the persistently restricted geographic range of Elasmotherium (probably also related to its specialized habitat), as well as the low population size and the slow reproduction rate associated with its large body size, would have predisposed the extinction in the face of environmental change", The authors added.

Scientists have indicated that extinction of the Siberian unicorn provides a useful case study "Which shows the scarce resistance of rhinos to environmental change".


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