An illustration of an extinct deer, showing its head and back in front of an out-of-focus forest background, in lighting that suggests the "golden hour" periods around sunrise or sunset. It has very large twelve-pronged antlers that resemble a thick spiny bush.

Eucladoceros dicranios, a deer from the Pliocene and Pleistocene of Europe (~3.5-1 mya). Close in size to a modern moose, standing about 1.8m tall at the shoulder (5′10″), the males of this species had a set of particularly large antlers – measuring up to 1.7 meters across (5′6″) and bristling with at least twelve prongs each – giving it the nickname of “bush-antlered deer”.

The more famous “Irish elk” (Megaloceros giganteus) would later develop even bigger antlers, but Eucladoceros was the earliest known deer to evolve this sort of extremely elaborate headgear.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *