Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

News

'Unicorn' found in — where else? — Italy

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.

5-year-old girls, your wildest dreams have come true: Yes, Virgina, there is such a thing as a unicorn.

Sort of.

The much-ballyhooed “unicorn” making its way around the interwebs is actually a Roe deer with a single horn protruding from the center of its head. Interesting, to be sure, but not quite the fabled one-horned horse with a billy-goat’s beard, a lion’s tail, and cloven hooves that can only be tamed by virgins. The 1-year-old deer was born in captivity on a nature preserve in Prato, Italy; scientists think his single, centered horn is a genetic abnormality since his twin brother developed two normal horns.

Since being spotted Wednesday, the deer hasn’t exhibited any of the unicorn’s magical healing powers as of yet. But that hasn’t stopped the Italian scientists from fulminating about the contributions this discovery makes to unicorn science and history.

Um, I hate to break the news to you, Gil, but the unicorn still is a mythological animal, and ancient naturalists did dream it up. Granted, they had plenty of inspirations, including narwhals, antelopes, and even rhinoceroses, which duped Marco Polo in Java.

The Italian scientists decided to give the unicorn-deer the apt name “Unicorn.” We’ll keep following the story, just in case Unicorn the unicorn proves us all wrong and starts healing the sick or laying down at the feet of virgins.

— Ted Alvarez

Single-horned ‘uncorn’ deer is found in Italy (AP)