I Believe

Fantasy Creatures
via http://www.e-figart.com/

I believe in dragons, unicorns, fairies, and mermaids; not to mention, giants and elves, trolls and shape-shifters, heroes and demons. I also believe in places like Atlantis, Mu, and Punt. As I have stated before, I believe that we have barely scratched the surface of knowing, much less, understanding our own history. And since we do not know everything, how can we say with certainty that certain things never existed or claim without absolute proof that we understand the languages, words, and symbols handed down to us by our ancestors.

Simply put, We Can’t.

I know that admitting to believing in all the things listed above and more, most would consider me at least silly, if not a full fledged nut job. But, why? Because some teacher in some classroom told you that something didn’t exist. What was their proof? In most cases when we are told that something does not exist, the proof provided to support their claim is that there is no proof. Forgetting that the absence of proof does not in and of itself provide proof of nothing.

Mountain Gorilla wwf
Mountain Gorilla via WWF

Ironically, history has taught us time and time again, that not believing in something, just because there is NO proof is usually a good way to have to eat your beliefs in the end. Mountain gorillas, rhinos, ‘hobits’, and komodo dragons all turned out to be real creatures and not just myths and tall tales to regal listeners! In addition we now have the physical remains of such legends as Homer’s Troy and the Vikings’ Vineland (Newfoundland) and the Bible’s Jericho. Yet, still we are more adamant than ever about our disbelief in things we have been taught don’t exist.

lanse-aux-meadows
L’Anse aux Meadows

As part of the argument that these places and stories cannot be true, we are told that ancient peoples were superstitious, unknowing, scared lesser peoples that through their imagination created fantastical stories to explain things in nature that scared them and that they were unable to understand scientifically on such an evolved intellectual level as us today. The contradiction with this concept, is the following: first, it takes an intelligent mind to imagine and create, not the mind of a simple creature that is incapable of understanding the world around them; second, it tends to be the less intelligent mind that cannot fathom things beyond their understanding, that cannot accept those things as real that they cannot see and touch and feel for themselves. Thus, their argument falls flat when we remove our desire to believe that we are superior to those that came before us.

Part of the challenge of being able to access with as little bias as possible those people and places and events that came before us, is to overcome the arrogant belief that we in our current form are the best, smartest, most advanced we have ever been. For even recent history teaches us that empires rise and fall and that great persons gain great status and then fall into obscurity. Life nor history is a straight line always leading to better and higher success.

I believe that it is the mission of those that most consider to be crazy or ‘out there’ to continue to provide the means by which we can truly seek the truth and then know and understand where we have been, where we are, and where we are going.

 

FOUND: The Real Unicorn

Domenichinounicorn Pal Farnese
probably by Domenico Zampieri, c. 1602 (Palazzo Farnese, Rome)

Throughout known history man has told fantastic stories of wonderful creatures and terrifying monsters. There are even depictions of creatures at ancient sites that some argue are representation of dinosaurs or other extinct creatures that supposedly the artisans would have no knowledge of. Of these mythical creatures, one of the most beloved is the unicorn. In modern romanticize versions this majestic creature has all the characters of a horse with a spiral shaped horned. But what is the actual basis for the unicorn?

In the Old Testament of the Bible, there are up to 5 verses that use the word unicorn to describe a beast, either metaphorically or realistically. It is believed that these references refer to an animal more like an oxen, bull or bison with large horns. This would make sense since the bull was a very important animal to most cultures of the time. An animal listed as an unicorn can also be found listed in the natural histories of the ancient world, such as Greece. One example of this would be from Ctesias, who in his book Indika (“On India”) described them as wild asses, fleet of foot, having a horn a cubit and a half (700 mm, 28 inches) in length, and colored white, red and black. And this or similar definitions are found in other Natural Histories of the Ancient World, by greats such as Aristotle, Strabo and Pliny the Elder. However, in spite of these references by respected learned men of the past, most scientists today will laugh at the idea of unicorns being real. This is due to a change in the definition of the original word.

RT_Asian_RhinoThe word unicorn is from the Latin unicornis or unicornium, which means basically a beast with one horn. This is opposed to a bicornis, which is a beast that has two horns. One need only to look at the scientific names of rhinoceros to see that unicorns are scientifically real. The Asian One-Horned Rhinoceros is Rhinoceros unicornis.

Now it can be pointed out that the modern-day Rhinos do not have horns that are ‘a cubit and a half in length’. However, what might have their horns looked like hundreds or thousands of years ago? Or what might other species of rhinos or similar animals have looked like? There is a creature that scientists have claimed became extinct hundreds of thousands years ago, or before the ‘history of man’ and thus would be unknown to modern man or to ancient historians. This ‘pre-historic’ creature known to science as Elasmotherium sibiricum, is more commonly known as the Siberian Unicorn. This creature according to experts died out over 350,000 years ago.

Siberian Unicorn
painting by Henrich Harder c. 1920

Once again, Mother Nature, has shown that we do not always know everything, most of the time we do not. Recently, a new skull of the Elasmotherium sibiricum was found near Kozhamzhar village, Pavlodar, Kazakhstan. The skull was tested by Tomsk State University (TSU) in Russia; the results of these testing found that the ‘Siberian Unicorn’ was living as recently as 29,000 years ago. This date is well within the known dates for ‘modern man’ to be living in the same area and thus in a very good position to have witnessed the creature and told stories of its existence.

These creatures are more a cross between mammoths and rhinos. So they were big hairy beasts of the grasslands. They roamed large areas of Siberia. This new find will give scientists more information about the survival of certain animals in the midst of environmental changes. This information could help protect other species in the future.