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The Hidden Treasures of the North Sea

A Complete and Superb Skeleton of an Irish Elk


Weight: approximately 200 kilograms / 440 lbs
Maximum width of antlers: 303 cm / 119.1 in
Maximum height: 283 cm / 111.2 in
Maximum length: 287 cm / 112.8 in
Plinth length: 303 cm / 119.1 in
Plinth width: 124 cm / 48.7 in
Plinth height: 21 cm / 8.3 in

Item Code: 936
Latin Name: Megaloceros giganteus
Site: Ireland
Age: Approximately 40,000 years old
Provenance: deaccessioned by Museum Biochron, Emmen, The Netherlands

Megaloceros giganteus (Blumenbach, 1799) is more commonly known as the Irish Elk – though it is neither exclusively Irish nor an elk. It is a giant extinct deer, the largest deer species that ever lived, reaching up to seven feet at the shoulder (2.1 meters), with antlers spanning up to 12 feet (3.65 meters). The Irish elk evolved during the glacial periods of the last million years, during the Pleistocene Epoch. It ranged throughout Europe, northern Asia and northern Africa, and a related form is known from China. The name “Irish” has stuck because excellent, well-preserved fossils of the giant deer are especially common in lake sediments and peat bogs in Ireland. Such skulls, with their enormous racks of antlers, adorn the walls of castles and hunting lodges throughout Ireland.

Unable to adapt to the subartic conditions of the last glaciation or the marked transition that occured after the final retreat of the ice sheet, the largest deer that ever lived became extinct, the last one in Ireland dying around 11,000 years ago. Megaloceros may have possibly survived in continental Europe into historic times.

Beyond its arresting size and singular appearance, the giant deer is of great significance to paleontologists because of the way in which the animal has become involved in evolutionary debates down through the years.

The present magnificent and almost virtually complete skeleton was discovered in Ireland most probalby around the year 1900, and has been part of the collections of the Museum Biochron in Emmen (The Netherlands) for several decades, until it was deaccessioned. It presents a rare opportunity to acquire such a superb skeleton of this fine beast.

This piece will be shipped by Fedex or an alternative high-end transporter and will be assembled by our technicians in a location of the purchaser's choosing.


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