Mystery Hoofed Mammal of prehist

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oric West - 
ern Europe.

Etymology: Unicorn is a misnomer, since t he 
animal cl earl y has t wo horns.

Physical description: Reddish. Large spot s. 
Square head. Two l ong, st raight horns. Large 
bel l y, possibl y indicat ing a pregnancy. Short 

Distribution: Grot t e de Lascaux, Dordogne 
Depart ment , sout h-cent ral France.

Significant sighting: A 17,000-year-ol d Upper 
Pal eol it hic paint ing of an unident ifiabl e animal 
exist s in t he cave of Lascaux, above t he Vézère 
River val l ey near Mont ignac, France. The cave, 
wit h it s many depict ions of horses, bul l s, and 
ot her animal s, was discovered in Sept ember 

Present status: The cave was cl osed t o t ourist s 
in 1963, but a part ial repl ica was opened nearby 
in 1983.

Possible explanations: Most comment at ors 
specul at e t hat t he 17,000-year-old paint ing 
shows an imaginary animal , t hough t he ot her 
paint ings in t he cave are nat ural ist ic depict ions 
of real fauna. Ot hers have suggest ed t hat it 
shows a hunt er or shaman dressed in skins t aken 
from different animals.

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