Today’s Megafauna of the Day is Megaloceros giganteus!
This mighty beast of the Pleistocene ranks among the largest deer ever to have lived, and certainly shared turf with our ancestors - the most recent remains are a mere 7,700 years old.
While M.giganteus is often called the “Irish Elk,” it was neither closely related to modern Elk nor exclusively Irish. It stood around 2.1 metres tall at the shoulder, and was similar in size to Alces alces gigas, the Alaskan moose. Mass calculations suppose that M. giganteus was probably of comparable weight to the Alaskan moose as well - from 540 to 700kg.
These magnificent antlers, the largest of any known member of theCervidae family, could weigh up to an astonishing 40kg and span up to 3.65m from tip to tip. It has often been speculated that the immense size of the giant deer’s antlers contributed to its extinction - but more thorough studies into both Megaloceros giganteus’ habitat and expected antler to body size suggest that this is an unlikely hypothesis.
[Sources: Wikipedia 1 2 3, The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Animals, Dr Douglas Palmer (yes it’s not a proper bibliography what do you expect This Is Tumblr)]