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A unicorn lives in Italy

June 19, 2008 | 10:10 am

No_photoshop_necessary_2Who says there's no such thing as a unicorn?

The Associated Press reports that "a deer with a single horn in the center of its head -- much like the fabled unicorn -- has been spotted in a nature preserve in Italy."

"This is fantasy becoming reality," Gilberto Tozzi, director of the Center of Natural Sciences in Prato, said. "The unicorn has always been a mythological animal."

The 1-year-old Roe Deer -- nicknamed "Unicorn" -- was born in captivity in the research center's park in the Tuscan town of Prato, near Florence, Tozzi said. He is believed to have been born with a genetic flaw; his twin has two horns.

Single-horned deer are not unheard of, but the position of the horn makes this creature most unusual, experts say.

As for mythical unicorns, they have appeared in the art and stories of cultures worldwide, from ancient times to Harry Potter. In a 1960s novelty song, the Irish Rovers retold the tale of Noah and the flood in "The Unicorn Song," explaining that the unicorns missed the boat. Remember the catchy chorus that began, "There was green alligators and long-necked geese"?

--Alice Short

Photo: Young Kwak/Associated Press

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