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Mythical ‘Unicorn’ Proves Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park is Actually a Fairytale Wonderland

A magical beast has been spotted in Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona.

The sighting of a one-horned creature was captured on the park’s cameras, much to the surprise of wildlife rangers. Under the glow of a magnificent full moon, the animal’s distinct single horn gave it the appearance of a mythical being.

The “unicorn” turned out to be a young male elk (cervus canadensis). His antlers were still growing.

Images by Petrified Forest National Park via Facebook

The National Park explained more about the unusual sighting in a Facebook post. “The first set of antlers that a yearling male elk grows are single beams, with typically no forks or tines,” they shared. “These young males are commonly referred to as ‘spikes’. The shedding of antlers typically occurs in late winter or early spring.”

However, early antler loss can also be a sign of something more troublesome. “It can result from sparring, poor nutrition, disease or injuries that affect testosterone levels,” Petrified Forest National Park officials shared. 

Petrified Forest National Park in northeastern Arizona is home to over 200 million years of history. Located along Route 66, the landscape is home to colorful concentrations of petrified wood and ancient Triassic fossils. 

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