Irish Fishermen Net Massive Antlers from Extinct Elk

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

If you appreciate a great set of antlers, check these bad boys out. 

Fishermen in Northern Ireland snagged a remarkable catch on Wednesday (Sept. 5), when they pulled in a massive Irish elk skull that's estimated to be more than 10,500 years old. The specimen measured approximately 6 feet (1.8 meters) across and is almost fully intact. 

According to Livescience.com, Raymond McElroy and his assistant, Charlie Coyle, snagged the huge antlers in their fishing net in the northwest region of Lough Neagh, a large freshwater lake. The men were fishing a half mile from shore in water no more than 20-feet (6 meters) deep.

"I was shocked to begin with when I got it over the side [of the boat] and saw the skull and antlers," McElroy told BelfastLive.

Extinct for more than 10,000 years, Irish elk (Megaloceros giganteus) were one of the largest deer species to ever roam the Earth, according to the University of California Museum of Paleontology. Despite the name, Irish elk were technically deer and were present throughout Europe, northern Asia and northern Africa. But, the remains of these massive beasts have been found in the bogs and lakes of Ireland more often than other parts of the world.

Currently, McElroy has the antlers stored in his garage until local authorities decide where the antlers' permanent home will be.

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