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Cervalces

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Cervalces scotti
Praemegaceros cazioti
Name Cervalces scotti
Order Artiodactyla
Family Cervidae
Class Mammalia
Name Translation Stag Moose
Period Late Pliocene-Early Pleistocene epochs of the Cenozoic Era
Location North America and Eurasia
Diet Herbivorous
Length 3-4 metres (10-13 feet) long, 140 cm shoulder height, antlers could be up 2.5 metres (8 feet) long

Cervalces, (also known as the stag moose as it bears a resmblance to a moose and a deer) is an extinct genus of deer related to Megaloceros. Its skull was relatively long and narrow, and its antlers were very similar to most of its relatives. Its habitat was mostly woodland, plains, snow and ice. It may have been an ancestor to Megaloceros. Cervalces was a major member of the family Cervidae, living in Eurasia in the Late Pliocene. Among the known fossils of prehistoric deer that can be reliably attributed to the subfamily elk (Alcinae), combining fossil and modern moose, Cervalces was certainly the most ancient and the most primitive. Its remains were found in Tajikistan, France, Britain, Germany, Slovakia and Romania. Consequently, in the Late Pliocene epoch, it extends from the Atlantic to Central Asia.


This is the oldest known elk markedly different from modern species. Cervalces was smaller in size, reaching a shoulder around 140 cm in height. But most impressive was the range of horns, which could be up to 2.5 m. It provides a very long (up to 100 cm each) rod horns and different structures of the skull, and were low and broad, with thick bones and with a slightly swollen face part. The modern mooses greatly elongated premaxillae and nasal bones are very short and often inflated, as the front part of the frontal bone. In Cervalces, a common structure for the deer and the relationship of the maxillary and nasal bones is so the face that looked like a moose is unlikely. It is assumed, moreover, the presence of Cervalces upper canines. In the southern areas of northern Eurasia, where this species lived in the Late Pliocene, dominated forest-steppe and steppe landscapes of the modern type of savannah, and the big horns could be used in "demonstration" purposes, that as time involves dwelling in the open with good visibility.

In fact, modern elk takes quite a variety of habitats, coming on the outskirts of the area and in the steppe, and tundra. The structure of the limbs suggests a Cervalces dwelling in areas with soft soil, such as wetlands, rivers and coasts, etc. Probably, a significant portion of its diet should be grass vegetation. By the end of the Pliocene, in the range 2.2-1.9 million years ago, the climate was cooling, and Cervalces, up to the top of the Pleistocene disappears, giving way to a new species such as Megaloceros.

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