Alan W. Gentry

in Cenozoic Mammals of Africa

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780520257214
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520945425 | DOI:

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Cervidae are pecoran ruminants in which most species have branched deciduous antlers inserted on the frontals. They are usually found in mesic and/or somewhat wooded habitats, and their teeth tend to be lower crowned than those of bovids. They evolved in Eurasia and are known from the early Miocene onward (but not from the Indian subcontinent until soon after 3.0 Ma). They entered North America at the start of the Pliocene and spread into South America around the start of the Pleistocene. They are known back to the beginning of the late Pleistocene in North Africa. Two or possibly three species are represented in the African cohort of this group. The genus Megaceros contains large Pleistocene deer with large and often palmated antlers. The best known species is the “giant” deer or so-called Irish elk, Megaloceros giganteus. This chapter describes the systematic paleontology of Cervidae.

Keywords: Cervidae; paleontology; ruminants; Miocene; Pliocene; Pleistocene; North Africa; Megaloceros giganteus; giant deer

Chapter.  1847 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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