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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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.

REFERENCE

Osnovy paleontologii: Mlekopitaiushchie. Moscow, 1962.

B. A. TROFIMOV

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Now, Ian Barnes of University College London and his colleagues have compared lengthy stretches of Irish elk DNA with analogous genetic segments from members of 10 living deer species.
This is an immense collection and the skeleton of the Giant Irish Elk is amazing," said Dr Rus Hoelzel, molecular ecologist at the university.
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.
Frankenstein, but we dare not ignore the lesson of the Irish elk.
Ballybetagh bog in County Wicklow is the most famous site for fossil discoveries of this creature, the Megaloceros giganteus Irish elk or great deer, where over 100 deer skeletons have been found so far.
It is the second time in three months that massive antlers from the extinct Irish elk have appeared at auction.
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.
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.
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.
The film tells of the last remaining herd of the Great Irish Elk, depicted as different musical instruments, as they face extinction.

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