An enormous Irish elk has been brought to the surface by 2 fishermen in Lough Neagh, a large freshwater lake in Northern Ireland.
The fishermen caught something in their net about a half mile from shore in 20 feet of water, but what they caught they definitely weren’t expecting.
The men landed the 6 foot longskull that’s estimated to be more than 10,500 years old, of an elk species that is now extinct.
The Vintage News reported“It came up in the net on the side of the boat,” Raymond McElroy told Belfast Live. “I thought it was a bit of black oak to begin with. I was shocked to begin with when I got it over the side and saw the skull and antlers.”
He’s keeping his find in his garage “until experts decide what to do with it.”
A fisherman named Felix Conlon also found a set of skull and antlers there in 1987.
These deer lived in Irelandwhen the weather was suitable on the grass plains, but years later, forests began to grow, Mike Simms, a paleontologist at the Ulster Museum, told BelfastLive.
Unfortunately for the large beasts, “giant antlers aren’t great in the forest,” Simms said. “Environmental change is what caused their extinction.”
The Irish elk also has another claim to fame, according to the Smithsonian. “In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many scientists believed that the extinction of animals was impossible.
Fossils, they believed, were just the remains of animals that explorers would eventually find somewhere hidden on Earth. The remains of the Great Elk was one of the animals used by French scientist Georges Cuvier to show that extinction did in fact take place.”