The Natural History Of Unicorns | Granta Books

  • Published: 07/01/2010
  • ISBN: 9781847081179
  • 129x20mm
  • 280 pages

The Natural History Of Unicorns

Chris Lavers

For centuries, unicorns have inspired, enchanted and eluded humanity. The beast appears in the Old Testament and there was a brisk trade in unicorn parts in medieval times, with travellers regularly reporting sightings into the modern era. But by the early twentieth century scientists had conceded that the unicorn never existed. It turns out they were a little hasty.

Where did the unicorn come from, and how was it accepted as a part of the animal kingdom for so long? Chris Lavers argues that although the unicorn of our imagination isn’t real, traces of its character can be found in existing species. In this lively and vivid exploration of the natural world, Lavers follows the beast’s trail to the plateaus of India and into the jungles of Africa to unearth the flesh and blood ancestors of our iconic unicorn.

A mind-opening work of intricate scholarship. If unicorns do exist I hope they never catch one. A great read that will grace my library

David Bellamy

Lively, compelling, full of anecdote, wry scepticism and an honest humility about the things it is simply impossible for us to know for certain

Daniel Hahn, Guardian

Intriguing ... The history of a non-existent animal is, by definition, a series of diversions from actuality, and, by reversing that trajectory, Lavers' book takes us to some fascinating places

Financial Times

The Author

Chris Lavers is a lecturer in the School of Geography at the University of Nottingham. He is the author of Why Elephants Have Big Ears, which has been translated into several languages. He has written for the Spectator, New Statesman and the Guardian. He publishes in scientific and historical journals in the fields of animal and plant ecology and natural history.

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