"Megaloceros is an extinct genus of deer whose members lived throughout Eurasia from the late Pliocene to the Late Pleistocene and were important herbivores during the Ice Ages. Most members of the genus were extremely large animals that favoured meadows or open woodlands, with most species averaging slightly below 2 metres at the withers. The large antlers of Megaloceros were once the basis of a controversial theory regarding its extinction where the antlers are considered to have grown so heavy that male Megaloceros could not even lift their heads when they had full antlers. Needless to say that this is considered highly unlikely because animals that handicapped themselves in such a way would not be able to continue the species for several hundred thousand years. However the original theory might not actually be too far off the mark with the antlers actually being the root weakness that prevented Megaloceros from adapting to new conditions.
Deer antlers are not permanent structures and after the breeding season the males always shed them so that they are left with two bloody stumps on the top of their head. After this a set of new antlers is grown, but they have to grow fast and large in time for the next breeding season. This requires a good supply of nutrients from plants, but the bodies of male deer will also use up nutrients that are stored in the bones to make up any shortfall in nutrients from the regular diet. This is where climate change at the end of the Pleistocene becomes a contributing factor as this signalled a change in the kind of plants growing across Eurasia. These new plants not only began to replace the plants that Megaloceros usually ate, they also had a reduced mineral content.
This means that Megaloceros would have had to rely upon a greater amount of reabsorption of minerals from its bones to continually regrow its antlers. Without the necessary intake of minerals from its diet to replace these used minerals, the bones would have steadily grown weaker and weaker. With such weakness developing in the skeleton, injuries like broken bones would have become far more common, especially from strenuous activities such as running from predators or fighting other males. The declining populations also coincide with climate models of the time with Megaloceros first disappearing from areas that were the first to experience climate change, to the very last surviving in areas that were the last to be affected by new environmental conditions."
Source: prehistoricwildlife dot com
I decided to dedicate this years inktober to endangered, enslaved or extinct animal species. In November I'll sell some of the originals to raise money for local animal shelters. ❤
Glad you like it! <3