Irish elk

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Irish elk:

see elkelk,
name applied to several large members of the deer family. It most properly designates the largest member of the family, Alces alces, found in the northern regions of Eurasia and North America. In North America this animal is called moose.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Irish Elk


(Megaceros giganteus), an extinct mammal of the deer family. In appearance it is similar to the fallow deer. The Irish elk existed in the Pleistocene and the early Holocene. It was distinguished by a large size and enormous antlers (up to 4 m in span), which broadened at the top in the shape of a paddle with several large prongs. The structure of the teeth, limbs, and antlers indicates that the Irish elk inhabited wet meadows. It was found in Europe, Asia, and North Africa. An especially large number of skeletons have been found in the peat bogs of Ireland. In the USSR, most of the remains of the Irish elk are found in human encampments from the early Carboniferous in the middle and southern latitudes, including the Crimea and the Northern Caucasus. Whole skeletons have been found in the territories of Riazan’ and Sverdlovsk oblasts.


Osnovy paleontologii: Mlekopitaiushchie. Moscow, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The Irish elk, or Megaloceros giganteus, was actually a giant deer.
The Giant Irish Elk stood 10ft to the tips of its antlers and became extinct tens of thousands of years ago.
The first computergenerated Irish elk fight scene, in which two males battle for the right to mate, indicates just how lethal the antlers used for goring rivals were.
The symbolic landscape of Seamus Heaney's poetry is a place where long-extinct animals like the Great Irish Elk may come to the surface when a farmer digs for peat in a bog, as if the earth itself had a faculty of memory like the minds of the men who live on it, and could draw them downward by the seductive appeal of its soft, dark body, by a feminine presence like the Bog Queen reincarnated.
It's thought Great Irish Elks, which once roamed the loughshore and forested island of Ireland, died out due to the vast size of the antlers.
THE Giant Irish Elk is on a list of the top 10 extinct beasts that could be brought back to life through DNA technology.
A massive set of Irish elk or Great Deer antlers sold recently in Bonhams for pounds 20,000.
New fossil finds indicate that the Irish elk, previously thought to have gone extinct at the end of the last ice age, survived in some spots for several millennia more.
With antlers that can spread 2 meters, moose are the giants of the modern deer universe, but these big-nosed browsers pale in comparison with the extinct Irish elk. An ice age inhabitant of Europe and Asia, the Irish elk evolved antlers reaching 3 meters across and weighing 40 kilograms--too big for the animals' own good, according to a new analysis of antler growth.
It is the second time in three months that massive antlers from the extinct Irish elk have appeared at auction.
Photo: The giant Irish elk outlived many other species, at least in western Europe, where it vanished around 10,000 years ago.
Experts have said the Irish elk would have stood 6ft 6ins at the shoulder and the 7ft antlers grew so large the animal was unable to lift its head.

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