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Dinosaur of the Day #176 - Megaloceros

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Although often associated with Western Europe where remains were first documented,‭ ‬Megaloceros was actually widespread across Eurasia.‭ ‬The type species of Megaloceros,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬giganteus,‭ ‬is by far the largest and is more commonly known as the‭ ‘‬Irish Elk‭’‬,‭ ‘‬Irish Deer‭’ ‬or just simply‭ ‘‬Giant Deer‭’‬.‭ ‬As a genus however,‭ ‬Megaloceros shows a varied number of sizes across its many species,‭ ‬some of which strongly support the idea of insular dwarfism.‭ ‬This is where isolated populations on small bodies of land grow smaller with successive populations so that they do not eat up all of the plants and end up starving into extinction.‭ ‬

The full size range of Megaloceros is hard to establish with certainty as different palaeontologists have differing interpretations of the validity of species.‭ ‬These interpretations come about from the overall similarity of giant deer remains that have been recovered from across Eurasia that‭ ‬although different,‭ ‬still closely match one another in form and proportion.‭ ‬Today the smallest species of Megaloceros is credited as being M.‭ ‬cazioti that was‭ ‬less than one meter tall at the shoulder.‭ ‬However another Pleistocene deer from the island of Crete called Candiacervus rhopalophorus grew to sixty-five centimetres high at the shoulder and is thought by many to actually be a sub genus to Megaloceros.‭ ‬Regardless of size however,‭ ‬studies have shown that the antlers of Megaloceros,‭ ‬while different in form between species,‭ ‬would always be in roughly the same proportion to the body no matter how big the animal.

Cave art from early humans depicts Megaloceros as having a dark coat of fur with a white underside,‭ ‬quite similar to other deer today.‭ ‬The art also shows Megaloceros to have had a small hump above its shoulders which has been interpreted as being for the storage of body fat for survival in lean times.‭ ‬The presence of a hump is supported by observation of the forward dorsal vertebrae on Megaloceros which have enlarged neural spines‭ (‬bony projections that point up from the vertebrae‭) ‬that would have granted structured support for a hump.‭ ‬This hump adaptation was not unique to Megaloceros however,‭ ‬as other large Eurasian mammals such as the woolly rhino Coelodonta,‭ ‬and even woolly mammoths also have enlarged neural spines for supporting humps.

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.

megaloceros-giganteus-irish-elk-size

Rarity: Rare.
Metahub Tier: TBA.
Health: 4500.
Damage: 1200.
Speed: 127.
Defence: 10%
Critical chance: 5%

Shielded Decelerating Strike.
Decelerating Impact.
Dig In.
Swap in Heal.
Immune to Deceleration.

I’m not going to draw my conclusions yet. I’d like to see what you all think of this new cenozoic megafauna.

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I was surprised when they added it to the game. But I’m excited to have a deer fight a dinosaur. That just sounds nuts to think about. I wish they would make it available already though :sweat_smile:

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Agreed. I cannot wait for her to become available. I’m hoping long enough for us all to get her and that it won’t be too difficult to achieve.

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I heard many a tall tale about this creature when I visited Ireland! The fact that it appears to be even bigger than a moose is unsettling, to say the least…

6 Likes

Megaloceros is a fairly big beastie. :deer:

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Have not seen it yet. So I approach it with indifference.

Woah, I don’t know until now that Megaloceros is THAT BIG. I thought it was just a little bigger erk…

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My opinion on this one… considering we have yet to see one in action, is that it reminds me of the ceratopsian move set but with slow effects rather than stun. Dig in and a swap in heal sounds like a nice combination to keep Megaloceros going though.

It has been nearly a year since the Dinosaur of the Day discussions started and I thought it might be nice to slowly revisit them and see how things have changed.

Rarity: Rare.
Tier: Alpha Low.
Health: 4200.
Damage: 1200.
Speed: 127.
Defence: 10%
Critical chance: 5%

DNA can be used to create Megalogaia.

Shielded Decelerating Strike.
Decelerating Impact.
Dig In.
Swap in Heal.
Immune to Deceleration.

So, since her first appearance Megaloceros has seen a significant health drop but otherwise she remains the same. I think my initial thoughts on her were correct - she’s a ceratopsian style creature built around keeping you slower than her and with reasonable damage too. I have yet to face one in the Arena (strike towers only at the moment) so I can’t say whether she is good team material or not. She has been given an Alpha Low tier rating but I’m not sure myself that she is up that high. What do you think?

What are your thoughts on this cenozoic creature in the current game?

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I tried her in a tournament once, but she wasn’t too great. Megalogaia, however, is pretty fantastic.

That’s really all I can say.

3 Likes

Another creature that is only good for it’s hybrid is what it seems to me

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Unfortunately, you may be right.

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Artist: Rushelle Kucala

Rarity: Rare.
Tier: Alpha Low.
Health: 3000.
Damage: 1000.
Speed: 127.
Defence: 10%
Critical chance: 5%

Shielded Decelerating Strike.
Decelerating Impact.
Dig In.
Swap in Heal.

Resistant to speed decrease (100%), swap prevention (100%) and vulnerable (50%).

The only change to Megaloceros after 2,0 has been a very large decrease in health which seems unusual. Her abilities have remained the same although she now has a couple extra resistances. She still feels like a better ceratopsian but I can’t say that I agree that she is so high up the tier rating. She doesn’t have the damage nor the abilities to be that high in my opinion.

Likewise, I don’t think Megaloceros has the stats or abilities to be good in Raids. That isn’t the right environment for her.

What are your thoughts on Megaloceros under 2,0 and how would you use her now?