by Lauren Bumbaca
The belief that unicorns are real and still roam the earth today is something that many modern, civilized people believe in. The definition of a unicorn an animal that dates all the way back to the dinosaur era whom closely resembles a horse and has a single straight horn projecting from its forehead. There are many people that currently believe that unicorns do exist today or have existed in the past. There are many informational websites and journals that explore the possibility of unicorns existing. Some websites that support the unicorn phenomena are www.unicornsrule.com that explain how it is possible for unicorns to still exist today; and www.sciencealert.com/fossilised-skull-reveals-when-the-last-siberian-unicorn-lived which describes and discusses how unicorns, though may be extinct today, were alive and went extinct only about 29,000 years ago. The unicorn belief has always been popular in the sense that it has been a staple in many fairytale/literature and has been classified as a mythical creature many of times in children books and movies. However, the belief that unicorns are a real living species has also been around for as long as we can remember and is still a prominent belief in people today. For example, unicorns have been acknowledged by great early civilizations such as Mesopotamia and Greece who stated that they occupied and cohabitated the same space as other non-mythical creatures.
This is very important because there have been certain bones and skeletons found that do support the fact that a certain species such as the Elasmotherium sibricum. However, the common unicorn that the common people seem to believe in are known to have “magical powers” and have the ability to become invisible, along with being white with a rainbow horn. According to the Unicorns Rule article there are many characteristics such as “unicorns have the faculty to render themselves, and other forest creatures, invisible to human eyes in the forest they protect.” There are many characteristics in this statement that make unicorns an extraordinary belief. First that statement makes unicorns being unfalsifiable, because if they cannot be seen then they could always be there but not being able to see them makes it unfalsifiable. This statement also “Retreats to the supernatural” because you just “have to believe” that the unicorns have “magical powers” and do to protection they are able to render themselves invisible.
As the before states there are many things about unicorns (described in a more literature sense) that classifies them as an extraordinary belief and deemed to just be another mythical creature. However, in the article by Science Today there are fossil discoveries that support the life of a prehistoric creature name the “Siberian Unicorn” or Elasmotherium sibricum. The article states that the Siberian Unicorn is a long extinct species that resembles more a rhino rather than a horse. Throughout the article they describe through their fossil records that the Siberian Unicorn was 6.6 feet tall and 14.7 feet long, weighing in at approximately 4 tons. The article also goes into discussing the new skull discovered in Pavlodar, Kazakhstan dated around 29,00 years ago. This insinuates that the Siberian Unicorn was indeed alive while humans walked the earth, unfortunately they contrast extremely in physical appearance compared to how they are popularly described today.
Some of the cognitive contributions that contribute to this belief is the fight between faith and fact. When discussing the chronological order of the Unicorn it is easy to interpret that there could have been sightings or known information that there were “Siberian Unicorns” roaming the earth 29,000 years ago. However, through time and literature along with cultural differences many people have misinterpreted the Unicorn changing the modern definition to a white, horse-like being with a rainbow horn that can perform magic. This puts the unicorn in two different categories. The species Elasmotherium sibricum could very well be a real species and is supported by scientific findings. However, somewhere between approximately 29,000 years ago to today “word of mouth” and literature continued to distort the image of a unicorn and made it into a mythical creature. However, the modern depiction of unicorn poses the fact that unicorn believers are a product of choosing faith over fact. This is the entity that if a person has faith in something then no matter how many facts that Unicorns are an extraordinary belief and that they do not exist, the person will still have faith and believe that Unicorns are real. Therefore, misinterpretation of language, literature, and cultural differences leads to faith in something where no true facts are able to support it.
There are many social and contextual contributions to the Unicorn belief system. The contextual context would fall under all the literature that unicorns are mentioned in. For example, in the Harry Potter series unicorns play a role in the fact that they are the purest forms of creature and if you drink their blood you hold magical powers as well. They are also shown through many religious literature and described as having certain “powers” as well. Literature works such as Harry Potter along with eyewitness, personal reports are the types of social influences that fuels the believers into thinking they are correct to think that unicorns exist. The social context works in tandem with the community that the believers come from, usually the believers come from those who read the literature that unicorns play a role in. Most of the time it is those who are science fiction readers or read older pieces of literature. The social context is that all the believers usually come together and follow and have faith in the set rules that unicorns are real, hold special powers, and have the ability to render themselves invisible; according to the “Unicorns Rule” website.
Overall it is important to note that Unicorns as shown through the modern, social context today are an extraordinary belief mainly in the sense that they’re realness is based on retreating to the supernatural along with being unfalsifiable. However, it is also imperative to see that at some point there were “unicorns” or a species that the tale of unicorns may have derived from that did walk the earth many years ago, according to very real fossil records. Therefore, when talking about unicorns you must be very explicit on which type of unicorn you are referring to. Also, know that if you come across a modern unicorn believer, who believes in the white unicorn with the rainbow horn, their faith will most likely never dwindle no matter how many facts you provide them with to convince unicorns are in fact not real, making them and extraordinary belief.
18 thoughts on “Unicorns Are Real”
I thought this was a really fun extraordinary belief to cover. All I really knew about unicorns was from cartoons I watched growing up as a kid so it was interesting to learn a little bit more about where the belief comes from. I would be interested to learn more about the differences between different cultures and their specific belief about unicorns. I think it would be cool to see which cultures believe in what specific powers unicorns possess.
That’s a really good question! I think that mainly the difference is from the different time periods that unicorns are perceived differently. For example, today we see unicorns as more of a modern trend or fad. However, in early time periods they were seen as almost this god-like creature that could bring special powers to the earth, and they were more symbolic than just being a mythical creature. But I do agree with the fact that unicorns and probably perceived and accepted differently in different cultures.
I found all of the information in the blog interesting and I think this belief is definitely unique. I think the existence of skeletons of a certain species definitely enhances a believer’s argument, but I also think the magical aspects of unicorns are unfalsifiable. I like how you pointed out the retreat to the supernatural and the unfalsifiability, which both are aspects of pseudoscience. This helps to show how crazy this belief may be.
Yeah I totally agree with the fact that the remains of certain skeletons add to the belief. Most of the time however in extraordinary beliefs there are some real empirical evidence that is sprinkled within the belief, but definitely not enough to support the belief or be cohesive with the theory.
I thought this post was interesting. I only knew about unicorns through tv shows and I actually never knew that people truly believe in unicorns. I like how this post explains where this belief stems from and I also think the cultural aspect behind who believes in unicorns and why they believe in unicorns is so interesting.
Yes! I think that the cultural aspect from ancient to moderns times. It leads me to wonder how many other mythical creatures that we grew up with are interpreted and perceived differently in other cultures.
This extraordinary belief is something that I think is pretty interesting. I had no idea that ancient civilizations recognized unicorns and even claimed they were a normal occurrence. I also had no idea that there is a species of animal, Elasmotherium sibricum, that is considered a unicorn, however after looking at pictures of the being, it’s very clear this is no where close to what modern depictions of unicorns portray. I’m curious where the myth that unicorns are white horses with rainbow horns that hold magical powers first originated?
That’s a really interesting thought. It definitely would be interesting to see if the white unicorns with the rainbow horns originated from something completely different than the real species or if it is a convoluted and twisted interpretation of the “real” unicorn that was misrepresented throughout time and generations.
This is a really interesting topic, I didn’t know that there was actually an animal that existed that resembled a unicorn. It makes sense that that was where the legend of the modern unicorn could have come from, since word of mouth can really distort something that was real to something mythical. I wonder where the belief that unicorns have magical powers came from and where the idea of a rainbow horn came from. I agree with your points about retreating to the supernatural and how people who believe in unicorns use it to justify their existence, people who believe something really will justify it however they can.
Thank you for your response! I think that you really understood to concept of my statement, that there was a species that embodied the name of a unicorn but with distortion through word of mouth it rose to be something completely different,
10/10 best article on the blog, props to you for going there, I love it!
I had no idea that there ever existed a species that resembled a unicorn at all, but I guess anything with a horn could be called a unicorn in some way. The “Serbian Unicorn” looks like a fascinating creature, but it looks more like a rhino than what we think of when we say unicorn (magical mythical creature). Regardless, I enjoyed your post and am happy to have the knowledge that the mythical unicorn may have had a base in reality. Cheers
I definitely agree that it looks more like a rhino than what we think a unicorn looks like. Again, it will be interesting to see how through generations and storytelling we got to the modern day unicorn.
Just like most people who commented – I, too, didn’t really know the history of Unicorns before I read this but I would also admit that it is the one extraordinary belief that I am most “familiar” with. Familiar being I’ve heard about Unicorns since I was so little and it’s a reoccurring thing, it hasn’t seemed to die down at all and that’s astonishing! It’s also crazy that I have known about Unicorns for a long time but I never actually researched about why they aren’t real or where they even came from. This post was honestly, very enlightening!
Thank you! I definitely think that its interesting that unicorns as a belief have been around for as long as they have. Because if you think about it they have become more a trend and a fad so its interesting to see that they have not died down in popularity yet.
I always thought that the idea of unicorns was just a made up magical creature. I did not realize that it was really only the magical part that was untrue. I had no idea that there were such prehistoric creatures resembling them and that fossils of these creatures had been found. This was really cool to read and learn the history behind it.
I was surprised when i researched and found it out too! I think it would also be be really cool to research how magical powers were established as a characteristic for the modern day unicorn.
I think this topic is very interesting especially since unicorns have really gained popularity these days, I have heard many times that creatures similar to the unicorn use to exist and had been extinct. But reading about their history was very insightful.
I think its really cool that you have heard before that unicorns have come from a distinct species because I never did. I think that a perfect example of how word of mouth gets distorted so we hear so many different versions of a story.
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