An image of a bull born with a rather unusual horn has appeared online.
The brown bull, which lives in Brazil and is called Diamond, has been pictured with one horn growing upward from between its eyes, rather than the usual two horns, Daily Mail reports.
Diamond has been dubbed a “bullnicorn,” a cross between a bull and unicorn.
Scientists and the broader public have long been fascinated with the idea of one-horned creatures, such as the mythical unicorn.
In the early 20th century, Dr. W. Franklin Dove spent many years trying to produce what appears to have emerged naturally with Diamond: a bull with one horn. The one-horned bull he created lived for only three years.
Through his research, however, Dove proved that horn tissue is separate from skull tissue, according to Scientific American. This differed from the common belief that animals grew their horns directly out of their skulls.
As well as the one-horned bull, Dove developed other animals with unusual numbers of horns, including some with three.
Dove’s research also uncovered interesting information about how body form can alter behavior. This became clear when the one-horned bull began to use the single horn in different ways, including to get under fences or as a weapon of attack.
“When we think about instincts, we think of them as programs in our brains that tell us what to do,” Dr. Mark Blumberg of the University of Iowa, said, according to Scientific American. “But that concept of instinct is wrong. What’s wonderful about the nervous system is that it’s incredibly plastic.”
If it does indeed turn out that Diamond was born naturally, scientists are sure to be interested in researching how his unusual horn affects his behavior.