Irish Elk/Giant Deer

The Irish Elk was the largest deer that ever lived.

Its home was Eurasia, from Ireland into the lakes at Baikal, and it lived during the Pleistocen area.

The last of the giant deer died out about 7 thousand years ago.

Irish Elk
Irish Elk

The Irish Elk was not strictly Irish in nature, and lived in many other places too. It also was not related to the modern day Elk which it is named after.

It was however extremely large, and had formidable antlers. The Elk was about 7 feet tall at the shoulder.

Its antlers could measure as much as twelve feet from tip to tip, which is unprecedented in the deer family.

The Giant Elk probably evolved around the Eemaina interglacial time from other, smaller deer.

Not a great deal is known of its habits or the entire area in which it was available however the antlers and skeletal remains show it was enormous.

More than enough for a cave lion’s meal, I would think.

The Natural History Museum in Dublin Ireland has a huge collection of skeletal remains of the Giant Elk on view to the public.

Links to Outside Sites with information on the Giant Elk.

Irish Elk
Irish Elk

CGI picture from “Walking with Beasts”. Discovery Channel.

Megaloceros, Irish elk, Giant deer. BBC.

The Case of the Irish Elk. University of California at Berkeley.

  • Rianna
  • crawford

    Hey i am also researching the giant irish deer and would like anythin information you could give me. Thank you.

  • alicia douglas

    i my name is alicia doglas i am 11 years old and i want to learn about the irish deer.
    how did it be come that big and how tall can the irish deer get.
    why is it antles so big.
    can you get me some photos.
    can you get me some info.
    when did they all die.
    what do they eat.
    why do they call them irish deer or elk.
    please e mail me.

  • Danielle

    Hi.I am also doing a project in school on endangered animals and i decided to do this one. I am in &th grade and i live in Billings,MT. I was wondering if you had any other pictures of Irish elk? Were they easy for preditors to catch them and what did they eat? I think they are the coolist extinct animals in the world! I never knew they were so big. I first saw a picture of them in 4th grade and thought they weren’t real. Well thanks for listening to me talk about nothing. E-mail me back.

  • erin

    hahahaha this is pretty cool man!! (: i love it

  • erin

    this is cool.. by the way im erin shields and shayne bailey and felicia davenport (:
    it is very interesting to look back and see what strange and wackey animals did live on this earth :p
    good job!

  • WweFan4Life!

    That the elk was a very very importnamt animal Ahahahah……But i think it would need more information about!
    -The extinction
    -The habbitat
    -Where it eats/ what it eats.
    So if you want to write about the elk do it better!

  • pat

    i am trying to learn to i its very cool

  • pat

    this animal is very very cool@

  • leah

    lol great website man lovin it this was just wat i needed

  • Tyler

    ive been studying the irish elk but i have some un-answered questions.

    Why was it called an elk when its a deer?

    been looking and can’t seem to find it

    please get back to me,

  • gerard taylor

    The term Irish Elk is a misnomer that some people still use. Its proper name is Megaloceros giganteus, or the Giant Irish Deer, so called because of the numerous excellent remains found in Irish bogs. The evidence shows the deer died out from a climatic shift resulting in an increase in wooded habitat, this would not be ideal as the large antlers would have difficulty traveling through. Although to say that was the only reason would be ignorant, there were others but climatic shift after the Last Glacial Maximum in Ireland ended them. Evidence does show the existed until much later around the Ural mountains and Siberia, but so did Woolly Mammoths.

  • Bause

    I am researching this extinct animal for an upper level Evolution course. I am interested in the genetic background about this animal and I am coming short searching all the databases that our school pervides as well as those the (amazing) internet is providing. I am trying to find a sure solution to this animals reason for extinction. Because I do not beleive that the runaway selction theory stating that the antlers were to vast for the elk to carry. Also, what ancestor this animal may of had, and if that species still is surviving today. Thank you for your time.

  • kd

    hi people, So, a am at my school in grade 5 right now and im on the school’s lap tops. So i might get busted any secound.
    Anyway, im researching this animal, and if anyone can post a note about what the irish elk’s habits are, that’de be fricken great !:)

  • anubhav

    hy people I have seen this animal first time because want to know about extint animals

  • angel
  • kd

    yea, the whole site buddy!

  • matthew perry

    I really really love this assignment.

  • Anonymous

    Giant Elk!

  • Anonymous

    Shut up

  • Anonymous


  • You Don’t Say?

    Im in 5th grade too I may be able to tell you a habitat of this deer… It once had expanded to Eurasia, to Ireland, to Lake Baikal… What ever that means… ene
    I think that means it possibly lived in… an… err… boggy biomes?

  • You Don’t Say?

    Question 1: Why was it called a deer?
    Answer: It was called an elk because an elk is a type of deer, all deer, moose, elk, etc, had antlers, I think… this one is the current largest deer known so far.

  • You Don’t Say?

    err… not very cool… I wouldn’t tell someone you don’t even know to shut up…

  • You Don’t Say?

    Question 1: How big did it become and how tall can the Irish Deer get?
    Answer: This animal got pretty big and theres no telling how big this deer can get!
    Question 2: Why is its antlers so big?
    Answer: I have no Ideal why its antlers are so big… ask God or Jesus.
    Question 3: Can you get me some photos?
    Answer: I have no ideal, look up Irish elk/giant deer up in google images…
    Question 4: Can you get me some info?
    Answer: Im trying my best and now my head hurts… and Im an egg-head. :3
    Question 5: When did they all die?
    Answer: They were alive about 400,000 years ago… and the wiki said that it is a mystery about when the became extinct, my opinion was about in the 13 century.
    Question 6: What do they eat?
    Answer: What do all deer/moose/elk/etc eat? ._.”
    Question 7: Why do they call them Irish Deer/Elk?
    Answer: Its a mystery… >_<

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