The Magdeburg Unicorn: The Worst Fossil Reconstruction Ever – Design You Trust

The Magdeburg Unicorn: The Worst Fossil Reconstruction Ever

This ridiculous picture can’t help but make you laugh. In 1663, the partial fossilised skeleton of a woolly rhinoceros was discovered in Germany… which ultimately led to the creature you see below. This is the “Magdeburg Unicorn”, the worst fossil reconstruction in human history.


Prussian scientist Otto von Geuricke is the man behind this ridiculous display of bones. In 1663, he found some bone remains of a woolly rhinoceros, a now-extinct species that once roamed over much of northern Eurasia, until the end of the last Ice Age.

He actually believed that the collection of fossilized bones belonged to a unicorn. Around five years after their discovery, Otto von Geuricke reconstructed the bones into the form in which they are represented today. Currently the unicorn is housed at the Museum für Naturkunde in Magdeburg, Germany.

h/t: sadanduseless


The horn is most probably the tusk from a narwhale, a medium-sized whale that lives in the Arctic waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The left upper canine of the narwhale males form a spirally twisted, long tusk with a length up to more than 3 m (10 feet in freedom units of measurement). The skull of the unicorn looks like a fossil skull of a woolly rhinoceros and the shoulder blades and the bones of the two front legs are from the extinct woolly mammoth.


The unicorn, a mythical creature popularized in European folklore, has captivated the human imagination for over 2,000 years. For most of that time, well into the Middle Ages, people also believed them to be real. The roots of the unicorn myth date back at least as far as 400 BCE, when the Greek historian Ctesias first documented a unicorn-like animal in his writings on India. These early accounts describe the unicorn as ferocious, swift, and impossible to capture, with a magical horn capable of healing numerous ailments. During the Middle Ages, unicorn imagery and descriptions were commonly included in medieval bestiaries, and the unicorn became a popular motif in medieval art. Who knows, maybe even nowadays there are people who believe in unicorns. After all we have flat Earth believers, so why not unicorns?

If you want more awesome content, subscribe to 'Oh, Design You Trust,' our brand new Facebook page! Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

More Inspiring Stories

A Portrait Of Lost Habitats In Africa
Low-Budget Glamour Shots That Are Just Too Terrible For Words
Little Wild Boar Thinks He’s A Cow So Moves In With German Cow Herd
Jay Ohrberg’s Bizarre Double-Wide Limousine From the 1980s
Two Brothers Photographed Every Stage Of The NYC Subway Construction, From 1900-1939
Amazing Photographs Capture Punk Scenes in East Germany During the 1980s
Mongoose vs Four Lions: An Epic Battle In Kenyan Savannah
Why Paint Cats: The Ethics Of Feline Aesthetics
The Running of the Wieners - the Hophaus Southgate Inaugural Best Dressed Dachshund
The America We Lost: Fascinating Found Photos Show How Life of the US Looked Like in the 1960s
Belgian Man Discovered Stash Of Cars Hidden In Abandoned Quarry Since World War II
1938 Buick Y-Job, the World’s First Concept Car
Sygmond The Grey Majestic Cat
Splendid Vintage Snaps Of Young Girls With Very Big Hair In The 1980s
This Instagram Account Shares Pictures From The '60s and '70s, Shows Why It Was An Era Like No Other
This Photographer Turns Vintage Photos Into Surreal Works Of Art
1970 Lancia Stratos Zero: A Crazy Concept from The Wedge Era
A Hunting Story Full Of Drama: A Day In The Life Of Barsik The Cat
For the Last Decade, Artist and Collector Thomas Sauvin Recovered Discarded Negatives from A Recycling Plant Outside Beijing
Bored Sitting At Home? Try To Find A Cat In Each Picture!
Beautiful Vintage Color Photographs Of The Japanese Warriors Captured Over 150 Years Ago
Meet Loki – The World’s Grumpiest Sphynx Cat
How this Man's Saved a Duckling
Photographer Set Out To Capture The Personalities Of Animals Who Adapt To Their Damaged Or Different Bodies Without Complaint