Emily K on April 15, 2007

Megaloceros is extinct. More commonly known as the “Irish Elk,” it was actually a deer (largest ever known), not an elk. It lived during the ice age, and the bucks had outstanding antlers that could grow up to 12 feet wide from tip to tip. As the ice ages ended, megaloceros died out. This is probably because as the land became warmer, more trees were growing, and with antlers that tremendously wide, bucks couldn’t move through the new forests.

Female Irish elks did not have antlers. It is believed that they preferred bucks with larger antlers that could win in fights against other bucks.

Present-day deer sometimes struggle with their antlers, as well. Though they are much smaller than megaloceros and can navigate through forests without much incident, they’re not without problems. When two bucks fight, there is a slim chance their antlers can become locked together, making them vulnerable. If they don’t get free, they’ll starve to death or be attacked by predators.