Marco Polo Believed In Unicorns

Excited for the August 21 eclipse? Visit our Eclipse 2017 page to explore the science, history, and myths of the event. The Curiosity team will be viewing the eclipse alongside NASA in Carbondale, Illinois. Follow us on Facebook for live videos, trivia, and interviews on the big day.

Marco Polo seemed quite disappointed in the "unicorns" he discovered: "They have hair like that of a buffalo, feet like those of an elephant, and a horn in the middle of the forehead, which is black and very thick ... The head resembles that of a wild boar, and they carry it ever bent towards the ground. They delight much to abide in mire and mud. 'Tis a passing ugly beast to look upon, and is not in the least like that which our stories tell of as being caught in the lap of a virgin; in fact, 'tis altogether different from what we fancied." This account is especially strange because Sumatran rhinos have two horns, not one. There is a species of one-horned rhino, commonly known as the Indian rhino, with the Latin name Rhinoceros unicornis.

Share the knowledge!

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Nepal's Chitwan National Park supports about 60 to 70 species of mammals. 01:16

  2. Greater one-horned rhinos are semi-aquatic. 03:19

  3. By wallowing in the mud, greater one-horned rhinos can stay cool and guard against parasites. 03:58

If you liked this you'll love our podcast! Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, search 'curiosity' on your favorite podcast app or add the RSS Feed URL.

Advertisement