Featured image: Image: Pat Grimes/Ardboe Heritage
Raymond McElroy and his assistant, Charlie Coyle were enjoying a quiet fishing day on Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland, when their hook found purchase in something wild, a massive set of prehistoric Irish Elk antlers with an intact skull, estimated to be over 10,000 years old. The incredible find measured around 6 ft from tip to tip and is almost completely intact minus a lower jaw.
The pair were fishing in relatively shallow water (20 feet) when the line went tight. “I was shocked, to begin with when I got it over the side and saw the skull and antlers,” McElroy told BelfastLive.
Irish Elk was one of the largest deer species to ever roam the Earth but went extinct just after this individual elk died 10,000 years ago. Their name is a misnomer though, as they were not just found in Ireland and are, in fact, not a species of elk. They once spread as far east as Northern Asia and as far south as North Africa.
Finds of this nature are not totally uncommon in Lough Neagh, in 1987 another set of antlers was found by another angler, and in 2014, an angler found a lower jaw bone, that scientists believe to be part of the skull found by McElroy and Coyle.
To read more about the find, check out this article on LiveScience.com!