In January of the year 1515, the Nossa Senhora da Ajuda set sail from India, bound for Lisbon via the Cape of Good Hope. Along with the usual priceless cargo of exotic spices, the ship carried a rhinoceros, a gift from Sultan Muzafar II for his ally King Manuel I of Portugal. No rhinoceros had been seen in Europe since the days of the Roman menageries. Scholars of the 16th century were unsure whether rhinoceroses actually existed, or whether they were mythical, like the unicorn. When the rhinoceros disembarked in the port of Lisbon, it was welcomed as a major scientific discovery.
Cole TB. The Rhinoceros . JAMA. 2010;303(10):918. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.215