Megaloceros (name meaning "Large Horn"), also commonly known as "The Giant Deer" or "The Irish elk", is a genus of giant deer that originated during the Pleistocene epoch in what is now Europe and Asia. Closely related to the fallow deer and standing over 2 meters tall, it was the largest form of deer of all time, dwarfing all modern species by far.
In the Series 3 finale "Mammoth Undertaking Journey", a dozen Megaloceros were brought to the park from Europe 30,000 years ago.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
Megaloceros lived through Ireland to China during the Early Pleistocene over 2 million years ago and lived up until the end of the Ice Ages 10,000 years ago. It is possible that early Ice age humans hunted Megaloceros for food and warmth.
First discovered by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach in 1799, despite its common name and it being found in Irish peat bogs, this animal was not indigenous to Ireland. Megaloceros giganteus' range extended from Eurasia to northern Asia.
A giant species of deer, Megaloceros measured nearly 7 feet (2.2 m) tall and the shoulder and weighed 540–700 kg, making it the largest species of deer ever discovered, larger than a fully grown bull moose. Megaloceros is notorious for having the largest set of antlers of any cervid, with the largest known pair being 3.65 (12 ft) meters in total length and weighing up to 40 kg. These antlers were most likely used for rutting and for display during mating season.
Despite being an impressive display, the antlers of Megaloceros may have presented problems for the animal. The weight of its antlers may have made it difficult for the animal to support its head. The sheer size of its antlers may have disabled it from entering dense forest without getting stuck. Despite their large size as well as their impressive antlers, Megaloceros was nevertheless a fairly agile beast, able to dodge most carnivores.
|“||A giant, prehistoric species of deer, the Megaloceros was the largest form of deer, literately dwarfing even the modern moose of today. The males set a most impressive pair of antlers, each as long as a grown man is tall. And it makes you wonder why they have trouble holding their heads up.||„|
|— Allen, in his Journal, about Megaloceros,|
- The sound effects of Megaloceros are a mix of moose, elk, camel, and deer sounds.
- Megaloceros is the largest and the only species of prehistoric deer to be brought to the park.