Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Fishermen Haul in Monstrous Skull and Antlers of Extinct Irish Elk

By Kimberly Hickok, Reference Editor | September 7, 2018 01:14pm ET
Fishermen in Northern Ireland pulled in the catch of a lifetime on Wednesday (Sept. 5), when they caught an enormous Irish elk skull that's estimated to be more than 10,500 years old. The impressive specimen is about 6 feet (1.8 meters) across and is almost fully intact. 
Credit: Pat Grimes/Ardboe Heritage
Raymond McElroy and his assistant, Charlie Coyle, caught the massive antlers in their fishing net in the northwest region of Lough Neagh, a large freshwater lake. The men were fishing in water no more than 20 feet (6 meters) deep, about a half mile from shore, said Pat Grimes, a local historian who shared his photos of the impressive discovery.
"I was shocked to begin with when I got it over the side [of the boat] and saw the skull and antlers," McElroy told BelfastLive. [Gallery: The World's Biggest Beasts]
Irish elk (Megaloceros giganteus) have been extinct for more than 10,000 years, and were one of the largest deer species to ever roam the Earth, according to the University of California Museum of Paleontology. The name Irish elk is a bit of a misnomer on both parts, in that they're technically deer, and were found well beyond Ireland — they were present throughout Europe, northern Asia and northern Africa. Still, remains of these large beasts have been found in the bogs and lakes of Ireland more often than other parts of the world.

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