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Giant deer skeleton

Description: Skeleton of a Giant Deer stag, or Irish Elk as it also known. It was excavated in 1897 from a marl pit near St Johns in the Isle of Man, as the result of an intensive search for a complete specimen by the 'Elk Committee' led by P.M.C. Kermode, who later became the Manx Museum's first Curator. The skeleton is almost complete; the back of the skull and tail were missing at the time of excavation and have been replaced by modelled plaster. The two large neck bones were also missing and the gap filled by Irish bones supplied by the British Museum.

Giant Deer must have been truly impressive beasts. This skeleton is 1.7 metres tall at the shoulder, with an antler span of over 2.6 metres. The deer roamed the open tundra landscape of the British Isles towards the end of the last Ice Age, before the islands had separated from each other and from Europe. Bones of these huge beasts are sometimes found, well preserved, in the fine-grained sediment which accumulated in freshwater pools.

Place found: St John's

Date found: 1897-10-01

Taxonomic name: Megaloceros giganteus

Collection: Natural History Zoology Collection

ID number: 1954-0503

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