Irish Elk
[Image via Daniel Eskridge/]

Irish Elk

  • Went Extinct: Between 6,000 to 5,000 B.C.
  • Closest Related Species: Fallow Deer & Red Deer

A bit of an issue regarding its name. The Irish Elk was not actually an Elk, but rather, a species of deer. Yes, there is a difference between the two. This was said to be one of the biggest deer species to ever live. Of course, they get their “Irish” name from where we first uncovered fossilized remains, Ireland. Yet they also lived in places like Siberia too. The most recent known version of the Irish Elk was carbon-dated and found to have died sometime around 7,700 years ago in what is now Western Russia.

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Of course, this species is not closely related to any European Elk or North American Moose species. Rather, the closest living relative is the Fallow Deer. They have a lot in common with the Red Deer as well, due to being a larger species of deer. Gene editing could likely bring this species back, but it could become potentially invasive. As a result, if science does bring it back then the Irish Elk may very well only be seen in captivity. Due to the large nature, it could cause problems if re-introduced in the wild.