Deer, Oh Deer

We’ve given our Irish elk (Megaloceros giganteus) specimen a new look for our reopening next year.

We reinstalled this well known Pleistocene mammal in a pose that brings its massive antlers, spanning nearly ten feet across, down to eye level. This charging posture will allow visitors to appreciate both the scale of its most recognizable feature and the robust neck vertebrae that supported it. 

More closely related to deer than elk, male Megaloceros grew and shed their antler racks every year. Their range extended from Ireland to Lake Baikal in southern Siberia, but a changing climate may have pushed them from their preferred grasslands to forests where the largest antlers in history were likely detrimental. Hunting by humans didn’t do them any favors, either. The species went extinct roughly 8,000 years ago.