What new Evidence is Revealing
It is believed that the Irish Elk became extinct about 11,000 years ago. New findings bring this date much closer with a new excavation that reveals a new date from 4,000 to 6,000 years ago. This is extraordinary considering that the Great Pyramids were built in 2584 B.C. It is believed that they made their last stand in western Siberia, some three thousand years after the last glaciation period. This isn’t the only megafauna that survived longer than thought. The last mammoth stronghold was on a tiny island in the north of Arctic Siberia just some 3,600 years ago.
The Irish Elk Survived Much
Longer Than Thought
These very distinctive animals known as the Irish Elk, were massive creatures, standing 7ft (2 meters) tall and had antlers up to 10 ft (up to 3.5 meters) wide, they been thought to have all died out at around the time of the end of last Ice Age about 10,300 years ago.
They first appeared 400,000 years ago and were common in Ireland, Britain, and mainland Europe and Asia. However now new data suggests not only did they live longer than that, but also survived and thrived in Siberia in the Holocene Era, about 9,000 years ago, much more recent than anyone could have imagined.
The Last Stand was in Western Siberia
Through a combination of radiocarbon dating of skeletal remains and the mapping of locations where the remains were unearthed, a team led by Dr Kuzmin shows the Irish elk were widespread across Europe before the last “big freeze.” The deer’s range later shrank to the Ural Mountains, in modern-day Russia, which separate Europe from Asia.
More Unexpected Results could be Revealed
In 2004, a British-Russian team of scientists analysed the remains of a deer found in 1886, about 130km east of Ekaterinburg in the Trans-Urals region, and said they believed this animal dated back to 7,500 years. This unexpected result was later published in Nature by A.J. Stuart and co-authors.
Now examinations of other bones and fossils found in Siberia have confirmed that theory and revealed that the Irish Elk survived long after the Ice Age far from its European home.
Among the remains found over the past 15 years are: 1) fragment of antler discovered at the Sopka 2 ancient cemetery in Baraba steppe, in Western Siberia, and 2) a complete upper jaw with teeth in a burial ground called Preobrazhenka 6 in the same region. The main cultural remains from these sites are associated with the Bronze Age which is dated to no older than about 4500 years ago.