An Italian nature reserve is claiming the world's first unicorn after a deer was born with a single horn in the centre of its head."This is fantasy becoming reality,'' said Gilberto Tozzi, director of the Centre of Natural Sciences in Prato, near Florence.
"The unicorn has always been a mythological animal.''
The roe deer was born in captivity in the research centre's park in the Tuscan town of Prato.
The condition is believed to have been caused by a genetic flaw, the deer's twin has two horns.
Mr Tozzi, who had never seen the condition before, said such anomalies may have inspired the myth of the unicorn.
The unicorn, a horse-like creature with magical healing powers, has appeared in legends and stories throughout history.
"This shows that even in past times, there could have been animals with this anomaly,'' he said. "It's not like they dreamed it up.''