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From: (Henry Spencer)
Subject: Re: The UFO Anthology CD-ROM
Date: Mon, 9 Nov 1998 14:31:44 GMT

In article <>,
Graham Nelson  <> wrote:
>And people used to think unicorns were mythical... and what do you
>know, they still do.  (Unicorns are in any case a lot more likely
>than UFOs, since it's easy enough to imagine that a horn might
>give a crossbreed between a horse and a deer an evolutionary
>advantage.  It just didn't work out that way.)

Actually, the tales of unicorns almost certainly derive -- once you strip
away a lot of goo accumulated along the way, like the nonsense about
virgins -- from real creatures.  Not horned horses, mind you, but other
one-horned creatures.

On one hand, the rhinoceros, although many early sources insist that the
unicorn and the rhino are different animals.

And on the other hand, it was established in the 1930s that it is possible
to transplant the horn buds of cattle, if you do it early, and that you
can *create* a "unicorn" that way.  The result matches, in many details,
the descriptions in some of the early accounts of unicorns.  Moreover,
it's well established that some groups of the ancients knew how to do this
sort of horn manipulation -- Pliny briefly describes production of
four-horned oxen -- and it's not at all unlikely that this is the real
origin of the story.
Mass-market software technology has |  Henry Spencer
been deteriorating, not improving.  |      (aka

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