The Giant Deer is one of the most famous extinct mammals from the last Ice Age. It lived on the open plains and woodlands of Eurasia, together with mammoths and woolly rhinos. Most members of this genus were extremely large animals with massive antlers of all sorts: from very straight and spiky to huge and flat. Their bodies were built to carry these massive weights, showing huge shoulder and neck muscles. The genus is closely related to the still existing genus of Dama, of which the Fallow Deer is an example. The extinction of the Megaloceros-deer is still debated. Some believe that humans caused their downfall by overhunting, but others favour the change of their environment in which large male animals couldn’t maneuverer through the increasing dense forests with their giant antlers.
Eurasia and Africa
Pleistocene to Holocene
A total of seven species are currently recognized within the genus, of which M. savini is known from the middle Pleistocene of Europe. Fossils of the Savin’s Deer have been found in Spain, France and Germany. The species was fairly small compared to other species of the Megaloceros genus; it had probably the size of a large Reindeer and weighed about 220 kg. The most striking difference from other Megaloceros species are its antlers, being very thin, long and spiky. At the base of the antlers, a small flattened tine is located.
Croitor, R. (2018). Plio-Pleistocene Deer of Western Palearctic: Taxonomy, Systematics, Phylogeny.