What do we need to now about unicorns?
Unicorns are typically thought of as objects of a young girl’s affection. I was obsessed with them as a kid. I loved anything having to do with them and drew pictures of them over and over. As I got older my tastes grew up and the fascination changed to horses.
The unicorn had planted the seed of my horse obsession.
Whether or not unicorns exist. One interesting angle is that over a million years ago there was a type of antelope living in Europe that had two horns which fused together into one.
So whether or not unicorns existed, the stereotypical image of the unicorn as a spotless white horse with an impeccable flowing mane and tail is most likely pure fantasy.
In our minds unicorns have the distinction of their association with magical powers. They are associated with innocence, healing, and magic.
They are typically associated with imagery like lightning, starry skies, and rainbows. Their role in fantasy art is a large one.
Movies like The Last Unicorn and Legend feature the unicorn as a rare and magical creature.
Here the unicorn is a gorgeous equine specimen who happens to have a horn. They never have the manure stains or yellowed tails seen on light colored horses that haven’t been recently bathed.
Back in the real world, the only white horn-like structures you’ll find on a horse are ergots, found at the back of the fetlock just above the hoof. Ergots are significant because they are from before horses were hooved animals.
They don’t have any magical powers (that I’m aware of). They do, however, pertain to evolution.
And evolution is certainly an area where individuals in disagreement often perceive the other’s point of view to be pure fantasy, just like the unicorn. Depending on the horse, ergots can grow long enough that they need to be trimmed.
Probably the most notable unicorn of recent time is Charlie the Unicorn, an animated character native to YouTube, rather than medieval forests. Charlie the Unicorn created a cult following and won the hearts of bored net-surfers everywhere.
Whether the subject of pencil drawings in the margins of a child’s notebook, or misunderstood antelope, the unicorn remains mysterious and therefore magical. It may not exist in real life, but was created by those who need something that cannot be found.