What are the animals found in Ireland

A gigantic deer head goes into the net for fishermen - it is 10,000 years old

Two fishermen in Ireland fetch a skull with huge antlers from a lake: it is the remains of a long-extinct animal species

It was probably not quite what Irish fishermen Raymond McElroy and Charlie Coyle had hoped for. But at least: a sensation. When the two tried to haul in their catch at Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland, they initially thought they had sunken driftwood in their nets. But that turned out to be a completely preserved skull with imposing antlers. Not just any deer. But from one of the largest deer to ever populate the earth, the Irish elk, a long-extinct species that disappeared in Ireland around 10,500 years ago.

"I thought it was the devil himself," Charlie Coyle told the Irish Times. "I was about to throw him in the water again." Fortunately, Coyle didn't follow his intuition. His colleague Raymond McElroy recalled that a huge lower jaw had been found in the same area four years ago - possibly from the same animal.

Irish moose were at home all over Europe

The Irish Elk (Megaloceros giganteus) is, strictly speaking, not a moose, but a deer. The antlers of the animals reached a width of more than 3.5 meters. The species was widespread throughout Europe, North Africa and northern Asia - and owes its name to the fact that particularly intact skeletons are preserved in Irish lakes and moors thanks to good conservation conditions.

In Ireland the species became extinct when, in the course of warming after the last ice age, more and more forest covered the former grass steppes and grazing grounds of the giant deer. Fossil remains have also been found in Germany. Only in Siberia could Megaloceros giganteus last longer. The last specimen died here around 6,500 years ago.

More popular articles on GEO.de