Antlers of extinct giant Irish Elk found at the bottom of Lough Neagh
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Antlers of extinct giant Irish Elk found at the bottom of Lough Neagh

THE antlers of an ancient Irish Elk have been found by a fisherman in Lough Neagh, Co. Tyrone.

Raymond McElroy was fishing on the lake on Wednesday when his nets snagged on something a little bigger than a trout.

With the help of fellow fisherman Charlie Coyle, Raymond pulled up the perfectly preserved antlers and skull of a giant Irish Elk.

The creature was the largest deer that ever lived and has been extinct for thousands of years.

Raymond's catch has a span of more than 3 metres and is believed to be at least 10,000 years old.

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"It came up in the net on the side of the boat. I thought it was a bit of black oak to begin with," he told Belfast Live.

"I was shocked to begin with when I got it over the side and saw the skull and antlers."

Charlie added: "We thought it was an old tree or something. Raymond kept going round with the boat to try to get a different angle.

"Then when it came to to the top of the water...he saw its head.

"He said its an elk! I said it's the devil."

The antlers were discovered in the same area of Lough Neagh - known as 'The Thorns' - where the jawbone of an Irish Elk was found in 2014, and it is believed the finds are from the same animal.

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After spending thousands of years at the bottom of a lake, the antlers are now in a garage awaiting a new home.