Bill Clark

The real unicorn? The ancestors of this large horse-like creature with its long straight horns may well have been the inspiration for the mythical one-horned white horse of medieval art and lore. Perhaps the Crusaders who came to liberate the Holy Land from “heathen” occupation saw these animals. Viewed in profile from a distance, the two horns would have appeared to be one. Descriptions of an exotic and elusive creature with one long horn may have been the boast of more than one Crusader, told, retold and embellished on the long journey home.

In reality, this animal is the oryx, called in the Hebrew Bible re’em. Hunted almost into extinction, the oryx are now slowly being restored to their ancestral territory by Israeli conservationists.