Irish Elk

The Irish elk had the biggest antlers of any known deer species.
Irish Elk Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Megaloceros giganteus
Irish Elk Physical Characteristics
1,320–1,540 pounds
Irish Elk Distribition

The Irish Elk ( Megaloceros giganteus), likewise famously described as the gigantic deer, is an extinct deer species that lived throughout the Pleistocene Date, 2.6 million years earlier, till regarding 11,000 years earlier. It is understood for its enormous dimension and substantial horns, which depended on 12 feet long. Lots of researchers say that its termination was mostly an outcome of malnourishment caused by environment adjustment and human searching. Rather than its name, it is neither an elk neither was it solely Irish.

Summary and Dimension

Irish elk
The genus name “Megaloceros” implies” terrific horn,” a recommendation to the deer’s enormous horns.Dima Moroz/Shutterstock. com

Irish elk is an extinct deer species within the Cervidae family. Specialists consider this deer the most significant deer species to ever before stroll the North American continent, Eurasia, and North Africa throughout the Pleistocene Date.

Their usual name is an outcome of a misidentification. In the very early days of their exploration, the horns were frequently uncovered in Ireland, and the researchers that located them misinterpreted them for the elk, which were when plentiful on the island where the bones were located. Nonetheless, it is deceiving since this animal’s array was not limited to Ireland and is not carefully pertaining to the elks.

The genus name “Megaloceros” implies” terrific horn,” a recommendation to the deer’s enormous horns. The Irish elk is likewise called gigantic deer, a suitable name thinking about the enormous dimension of this deer. It stood at 6.9 feet at the shoulders and evaluated in between 1,320 and 1,540 extra pounds. This deer is among the heaviest old- globe deer after Cervalces latifrons The head- to- body size of the Irish elk remained in the series of 9– 10 feet.

Irish elks had effective bones with thick heads and concave fronts. Their jaws had no top dogs. Fossil discovers disclose they had 12.8 inches lengthy molars. Paleolithic cavern paints show the Irish elks as light- tinted animals with opposing dark red stripes leaving their back and a red stripe on either side from shoulder to stoop. Its excellent- looking horns covered approximately twelve feet.

Just males had horns. Without horns, females were 10- 15% much shorter than males. The horns were mainly for thrilling females. Throughout mating period, males typically combated with the horns over females, that would certainly mate with the victors.

Diet – What Did the Irish Elk Eat?

Like all deer, the Irish elk was vegetarian. Researchers believe they consumed a great deal of fallen leaves, turfs, natural herbs, bushes, fruits, and stems. The gigantic deer complied with a blended consuming pattern of grazing and feeding together with fallen leave surfing. Their enormous dimension implied they might arrive of trees and bushes to obtain food.

Nonetheless, allowing likewise implied they required to eat a great deal of fresh vegetation day-to-day to keep their toughness and assistance antler development. They likewise required nutritionally abundant forage. Their diet probably consisted of earthbound and water plants.

Environment – When and Where the Irish Elk Lived

The Irish elk had a substantial array in the Eurasian area. Their residence array expanded from the Atlantic Sea in the West to Lake Baikal in the East. They lived throughout the Pleistocene Date and endured up until regarding 11,000 years earlier.

Although the gigantic deer strolled throughout different areas in Europe, the most effective- maintained horns have actually been located in Ireland. It is thought to have actually strolled the boreal steppe forests areas of Ireland together with old humans. These areas had a great deal of yearn and spruce, which would certainly have been their significant food resource. They stayed in meadows and open levels also.

Weather in Ireland at the end of the last glacial period were excellent for fossil conservation. Fossils from the late Pleistocene period have actually likewise been located much eastern, in locations like China and Siberia.

Dangers and Predators

Marks on Fossil bones recommend that the Irish elk was victim for hyenas that normally dragged their bodies right into caverns. Humans would certainly have made up considerable risks to them also. While there isn’t adequate proof to reveal deer searching by humans, the growth of Neolithic negotiations was leading throughout the last duration of their presence. Environment adjustment was a massive risk to their feeding and grazing, and wild animals such as the cave lion and Sabre- toothed tiger would certainly likewise have actually assaulted them.

Discoveries and Fossils – Where Irish Elk Was Found

The earliest fossils of the gigantic deer located go back 400,000 years earlier in Ireland. The even more current finds are from deer living regarding 8,000 years earlier. In 1746, the very first fossil, which included a head and a horn, was found in Yorkshire, England. In 1781, palaeontologists made the very first fossil exploration in continental Europe in Germany. Fossils of the Irish elk have actually likewise been located in France, Austria, Britain, Italy, and Central Asia.

The very best fossil collection can be located at the National Gallery of Ireland. The gallery residences 10 full deer skeletal systems and over 400 partial remains. Several of one of the most well-known fossils located until now are from Ireland. Places of one of the most noteworthy finds consist of Ballybetagh Bog in Glencullen Area, Dublin, where over 100 deer skeletal systems were found. Fossils in Ireland were found in peat bogs, lakes, and caverns.

Fossilized remains of the Irish elk were likewise located in Maybole, Ayrshire, in Scotland, in 1837. These remains were protected in peats and bogs prior to and after the Glacial period, which implies it is among Scotland’s the majority of geologically current fossil discovers.

Termination – When Did It Pass away Out?

The very first wave of termination for the gigantic deer occurred 12,000 years earlier when it went away from Ireland completely. This quickly reached Britain and, later, every one of Europe. A mix of elements caused the termination. The quickly altering weather problem made food limited, and because they required a great deal of food to sustain their enormous dimension and large horns, they just could not maintain.

As the environment warmed up, parks and meadows declined, and woodlands ended up being extensive, making it difficult for the animals to forage and expand. Early human negotiations could have likewise erased the horns as humans had huge cravings for video game animals.

It has actually likewise been presumed that the horns added to the Irish elk’s death and termination. Their enormous dimension ended up being a negative aspect that disrupted the deer’s all-natural way of living. They would certainly obtain captured up in trees, and because of this, seekers and predators conveniently eliminated them off up until they ended up being extinct.

Similar Animals to the Irish Elk

Similar animals to the Irish Elk consist of:

  • Alaskan Moose – Alaskan moose and Irish elks are thought about amongst the biggest deer species ever before. They have an ordinary weight of 1,300 extra pounds and stand at around 7 feet.
  • Cervalces latifrons – The wide- fronted moose stood at regarding 7ft and evaluated greater than 2,000 extra pounds. It is fairly similar to the Irish elk in regards to body mass, weight, and the reality that they strolled the planet around the very same time – The Pleistocene period.
  • Cervalces scott – This is likewise called the elk moose or stag moose. It is an extinct species of huge- sized deer belonging to The United States and Canada. Like the Irish elk, this gigantic moose lived throughout the Late Pleistocene Date. It is understood for its enormous dimension and facility horns.


  1. Berkeley, Available here:
  2. Wikipedia, Available here:
  3. Britannica, Available here:

Relate animals

Abyssinian Guinea Pig

They are one of the oldest breeds of guinea pig

Ackie Monitor

The ackie monitor has a spiny tail which it uses as in self-defense.


The Albertonectes had the longest neck out of other Elasmosaurids.

American Bully

Though the American bully was bred to look intimidating, it makes an extremely friendly family pet!

Latest Animal News