According to tradition, one can lure a unicorn with a virgin. Nowadays, a twelve gauge will do nicely, thank you very much. Deep in the wilds of Slovenia, a lucky hunter bagged a deer with a single horn in August. Animal lovers need not despair, as this specimen of Capreolus capreolus1 was taken down for his advanced age.2
Could a deer with deformed antlers forming a single spike be an inspiration for unicorn legends? Art depicts unicorns as having cloven hooves, much like a deer, along with the obvious horn extending from its skull, in addition to exhibiting a timid nature much like a deer.3 Most unicorns are rendered as horned horses, lacking the gracile physiology of deer.
What if, once upon a time, there were crossbreeds of horses and deer roaming Europe? Don’t cry “woo”, because there are vanishingly few accounts of purported hybrids of this nature. From 1587, surgeon Jakob Ruf described such a hybrid in De Conceptu et Generatione Hominis.
Indeed, in France, a mare impregnated by a deer, bore a foal that resembled a deer in its posterior portion and that no other horse could equal in speed, and it was accepted by King Louis [Perhaps Louis XII as a gift from its possessor.
In Gallia vero equa a cervo subacta, pullum peperit, posteriori parte сervae similem, quem nullus alius equus cursu aequare potuit ipsum Ludovicus rex a possessore dono accepit.
With 21st century arrogance, this account can be dismissed because the 16th century lacked genetic testing and alchemy was still in vogue. But what about a more recent instance of a deer-horse hybrid? Over at the forums of the Nebraska Fish & Game Association, a user going by the handle of PLP posted a picture of a possible hybrid.
I personally took the picture myself.The deer was killed in ga on a dog/hunting club around christmas.It is the only deer we have ever seen like this..Even the hooves had white on them.So I guess I will take this as a personal attack that you are calling me a liar..I do not care for being called a liar..I guess that everyone who posts something on here needs a certificate of authenticity?This is not a photoshop..PERIOD..believe it or not..I didnt post this picture or join this forum to be rediculed and called a liar..4
Other forum members argue this critter’s just a piebald, whitetail deer, and a lack of photographs showing the rest of the animal doesn’t help PLP’s case. The only shared heritage between the genuses Artiodactyla (deer, and other ungulates) and Perissodactyla (horses, tapirs, and rhinoceroses) is being Laurasiatheria doesn’t bolster the hybrid theory. Currently known crosses, like mules, are the product of mating two species,5 along with camas, the hybrid offspring of llamas and a camels, representing two different genera, are accepted by mainstream science.
The prospect of discovering an interorder hybrid, or an underground program creating interorder chimeras is tantalizing. If only PLP saved some bits from that beast for the sake of forteana.