Skip to comments.Starvation 'wiped out' giant deer
Posted on 11/16/2009 9:47:20 AM PST by BGHater
The giant deer, also known as the giant Irish deer or Irish elk, is one of the largest deer species that ever lived.
Yet why this giant animal, which had massive antlers spanning 3.6m, suddenly went extinct some 10,600 years ago has remained a mystery.
Now a study of its teeth is producing tantalising answers, suggesting the deer couldn't cope with climate change.
As conditions became colder and drier in Ireland at the time, fewer plants grew, gradually starving the deer.
The discovery is published in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.
The giant deer (Megaloceros giganteus) has become famous over the past few centuries.
In the early 1800s, discoveries of its remains opened up the debate about whether animal species had previously become extinct, and whether new life-forms could be discovered in the fossil record.
Around this time, conflicting ideas as to why the animal went extinct began to emerge.
Initial ideas ranged from the Biblical flood described by Genesis, to the idea that humans had wiped them out.
However, the archaeological record suggests that people did not arrive in Ireland until after the last Ice Age, after most giant deer had disappeared.
There is also little evidence that the deer had any predators in Ireland.
A popular idea that also emerged was that the deer's huge antlers, spanning up to 3.6m, grew disproportionately large due to sexual selection.
Females became attracted to and mated with males with ever larger antlers, according to the idea, and eventually the antlers became so unwieldy that the deer became mired in clay soils, where they perished.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.bbc.co.uk ...
‘the deer couldn’t cope with climate change.’
I believe this makes more sense than the silly theory that man wiped out the Wooly Mammoth - even though North America was sparsely populated by humans at the time.
Guess I’m off the hook.
I'm thinking .375 H&H as the minimum...
Missed the boat?
Thus the beginning of the term "horney"........
It was warmer, which the giant deer liked, then it got colder, but then man started driving cars and now it got warmer again, just before it will get colder again, despite our continued driving.
De deer cain’t hold dey smoke. Dat’s what it is!
Very nice! Is that yours?
This type of lifestyle is NOT sustainable. It is KILLING the planet and has been for thousands and thousands of years!!!
My money is extinction induced by either a large meteor strike or volcanic activity.
One of those bad boys bites your sister and it’s all over.
That's ludicrous. Female deer or elk do not "become attracted" to a Buck or Bull because of their "antler size". The males compete (sometimes to the death) by using their antlers, physical size, and sheer strength as weapons to dominate the other males, and keep "their" herd in line. The winner gets to rut - it's that simple.
The females don't "become attracted to" any males in the sense that they suggest. They are simply ready to breed and the males vie for the winner's choice. It's more likely that they just kept breeding with the dominant males, who were dominant by virtue of larger antlers and body size.
Although, there is now evidence (supported by DNA analysis) from Penn. game & fish that proves that Does will accept multiple bucks in one rut, even to the point where multiple birth fawns can have completely different sires. Winning the antler fight doesn't guaranteed monogamy, nor mean that another buck won't sneak in behind his back (hmmmmm, kind of like humans in that regard......).
But to suggest that female deer/elk have the capacity to "select a mate based on the size of its antlers" is preposterous. Oh, and the "their antlers got so big that their feet got stuck... so they all died off" is pretty dumb too.
Impressive rack though. Imagine the "trophy fees" on that thing.
I think it was because the English deer took all the Irish deer’s food and didn’t leave them enough to survive on.
‘Oh, and the “their antlers got so big that their feet got stuck... so they all died off” is pretty dumb too.’
Quick, better tell that to the moose in Maine and Alaska.
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