700-year-old picture of 'Mickey Mouse' found in Austrian church
What appears to be a 700-year-old picture of Mickey Mouse has been discovered on a church fresco in Austria.
Walt Disney first sketched his character in 1928 but an Austrian art historian spotted an uncannily similar drawing.
The painting, which has been dated back to the early 14th Century, is in the Community Church in Malta, Carinthia. Next to a large sketch of St. Christopher is a clear drawing of the mouse.
Art historian Eduard Mahlknecht believes the similarity to Mickey is pure coincidence.
He told Austrian daily 'Krone: "St Christopher was often depicted surrounded by various animals and sea-life, and in this case something that resembles Mickey Mouse.
"It is most likely to be a drawing of a beaver or a weasel."
However, Carinthia's tourism office is already thinking of ways to cash in on the sketch.
Siggi Neuschitzer, manager of the Malta Tourism Association, said: "The similarity of the painting to Mickey Mouse is so astounding that the Disney concern could even lose its world-wide copyright licence.
"Our Mickey Mouse is 700 years older than Disney's and we will get it legally examined."