Meet The Magdeburg Unicorn – One Of The Worst Fossil Reconstructions
Otto von Guericke, the man who ended up turning these bones over in his hands and trying to work out what the hell to do with them, was no fool. He invented the vacuum pump – and demonstrated it with that rather spectacular stunt where he vacuumed two hemispheres together and then set two teams of horses to try and pull them apart. They couldn’t. But when it came to bones, I don’t think he quite knew what to do with them. He did believe in unicorns though. And … he tried! As any good scientist should.
People have been laughing at the results for a long time, but they look more like something from Calvin and Hobbes than any kind of creature we see outside of Drug Haze. Must be, right? It was the same as the infamous Crystal Palace dinosaurs. Restoration is a very strange art. Do you have a lot of bones and would you like to use them to figure out the size, life and personality of this creature? This is an incredible exercise in informed speculation and it’s probably what I always That’s why I’m intrigued. It’s really an art form rather than an exact science of rigorous data and exact reality. There is a great need to match reality as closely as possible. The more you learn, the more you tinker with something… It’s a reference to real creatures that lived long before we existed.