Irish Elk

Part of Hall of Advanced Mammals.

The Irish Elk fossil in the Museum's Hall of Advanced Mammals.

Weighing around 1,500 pounds and rivaling a large moose in size, the Irish elk is one of the largest known deer. Originally discovered in bog deposits in Ireland, the Irish elk, or Megaloceros giganteus, lived on the European mainland as well.

The Irish elk's enormous antlers, some of which reached a 13-foot spread, were used in ritualized combat between males. Adapted to live on grassy terrain, this elk became extinct some 10,000 years ago, possibly because of loss of habitat.