Survival of the Irish elk into the Holocene

  title={Survival of the Irish elk into the Holocene},
  author={Silvia Gonz{\'a}lez and Andrew C. Kitchener and Adrian M. Lister},
The giant deer Megaloceros giganteus was a celebrated victim of the Late Pleistocene megafaunal extinction, the timing and causes of which are hotly debated. Until now, it was believed that the giant deer's demise occurred during the Late Glacial (about 10,600 years ago), before the Pleistocene–Holocene boundary. Here we report new radiocarbon dates from two specimens in stratified contexts, which indicate that a giant deer population still existed around the northern Irish Sea Basin in the… 
The extinction of the giant deer Megaloceros giganteus (Blumenbach): New radiocarbon evidence
Pleistocene to Holocene extinction dynamics in giant deer and woolly mammoth
It is shown that another spectacular megafaunal species, the giant deer or ‘Irish elk’, survived to around 6,900 radiocarbon yr bp (about 7,700 yr ago) in western Siberia—more than three millennia later than its previously accepted terminal date—and therefore, that the reasons for its ultimate demise are to be sought in Holocene not Pleistocene events.
Late Pleistocene Megafaunal Extinctions
Earliest Holocene vegetation history and island biogeography of the Isle of Man, British Isles
Aim  To present radiocarbon dated early Holocene pollen analytical data from two sites on the northern plain of the Isle of Man and to discuss the implications of the vegetation history in relation
Late Pleistocene remains of giant deer (Megaloceros giganteus Blumenbach) in Scandinavia: chronology and environment
This article presents new data on the Late Pleistocene giant deer, Megaloceros giganteus (Blumenbach), describing its distribution in time and space, geographical and sexual variation and general
Historical development and geographical distribution of giant deer (Cervidae, Megacerini)
The origin, trends in adaptatiogenesis and ecogenesis of megacerines reviewed. The major phylogenetic lineages are described, the main evolutionary events are dated and compared with changes in
Deciphering North American Pleistocene Extinctions
  • D. Grayson
  • Environmental Science
    Journal of Anthropological Research
  • 2007
The debate over the cause of North American Pleistocene extinctions may be further from resolution than it has ever been in its 200-year history and is certainly more heated than it has ever been
Of mice, mastodons and men: human-mediated extinctions on four continents
It is found that body size distributions of all mammals in North America, South America, Africa and Australia before and after the late Pleistocene show a similar large-size selectivity of extinctions across continents, despite differences in timing.
Late Quaternary Extinctions: State of the Debate
Results from recent studies suggest that humans precipitated extinction in many parts of the globe through combined direct (hunting) and perhaps indirect (competition, habitat alteration) impacts, but that the timing and geography of extinction might have been different and the worldwide magnitude less, had not climatic change coincided with human impacts in many places.


  • A. Stuart
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
  • 1991
Although a global phenomenon, late Pleistocene extinctions were most severe in North America, South America and Australia, and moderate in northern Eurasia (Europe plus Soviet Asia), in Africa, where nearly all of the late Pleistsocene ‘megafauna’ survives to the present day, losses were slight.
The evolution of the giant deer, Megaloceros giganteus (Blumenbach)
  • A. Lister
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • 1994
A biometric study of variation and evolution in the giant deer through its history is reported, finding thickened skull and mandibular bones are constant throughout the species' history.
Holocene dwarf mammoths from Wrangel Island in the Siberian Arctic
The dwarfing of the Wrangel mammoths is interpreted as a result of the insularity effect, combined with a response to the general trend towards unfavourable environment in the Holocene.
Sea-levels and the evolution of island endemics: the dwarf red deer of Jersey
  • A. Lister
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Geological Society, London, Special Publications
  • 1995
Abstract The dwarfing of red deer on Jersey in the Last Interglacial allows a detailed investigation of the ‘island dwarfing’ phenomenon. Uniquely, the island furnishes normalsized deer in stratified
Quaternary extinctions : a prehistoric revolution
What caused the extinction of so many animals at or near the end of the Pleistocene? Was it overkill by human hunters, the result of a major climatic change or was it just a part of some massive
The Late-Weichselian Flora of the Isle of Man.
The last glacial deposits of the Ballaugh-Kirkmichael area in the north-east of the Isle of Man have been investigated by analysis of pollen and macroscopic fossils and by radiocarbon dating.
V.—The “Irish Elk,” Cervus giganteus, in the Isle of Man
In September last the Committee appointed by the British Association to “examine the conditions under which remains of the Irish Elk were found in the Isle of Man” commenced excavating at
Antler growth and extinction of Irish elk
It is suggested that the inability to balance these opposing selection pressures in the face of rapid environmental change contributed to extinction of the Irish elk 10,600 years b.p.
Late Devensian and Holocene shorelines of the British Isles and North Sea from models of glacio-hydro-isostatic rebound
  • K. Lambeck
  • Environmental Science
    Journal of the Geological Society
  • 1995
Sea-level change around the British Isles since the time of the last glacial maximum is largely due to of the crustal rebound from the glacial unloading of northern Britain and the concomitant
  • S. Gould
  • History
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 1974
Almost all the fine specimens that adorn museums and homes throughout the world are from Ireland, and there is scarcely a textbook in evolutionary biology that does not illustrate some important principle with a well chosen pair of antlers.