30 November 2012

And now, unicorns

Apparently this is cryptozoology week. We started the week with the news about the claim of Sasquatch DNA. We end the week with the announcement of the discovery of a unicorn lair.

In North Korea.

How did the researchers find this? There was a sign:

Archaeologists of the History Institute of the DPRK Academy of Social Sciences have recently reconfirmed a lair of the unicorn rode by King Tongmyong, founder of the Koguryo Kingdom (B.C. 277-A.D. 668).

The lair is located 200 meters from the Yongmyong Temple in Moran Hill in Pyongyang City. A rectangular rock carved with words "Unicorn Lair" stands in front of the lair. The carved words are believed to date back to the period of Koryo Kingdom (918-1392).

That the sign is about a millenium younger than purported event, the riding of the unicorn by King Tongmyong, is not discussed as problematic.

What is weirder to me is that they are putting out a press release for something that is being “reconfirmed.” I could totally go into that press release scheme. “Scientists reconfirmed today that water is still wet.”

And you know, since this means there were unicorns less than 2,00 years ago, that is probably young enough that you could get ancient DNA to sequence, if the preservation conditions were right.

Update, 5 December 2012: Maybe things are quite as surprising it originally seemed. A grad student explains that the translation of the press release was bad. Incredibly, amazingly, bad. For one, the beast was better described as a kirin rather than a unicorn.

Hat tip to Bess Lovejoy.

Hat tip to College Guide blog.

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