Michigan Girl Finds Skeleton of Extinct Elk
Eastern Elk, Michigan
10-year-old Sonja Moehle found the skeleton of a representative of the extinct Eastern subspecies of Elk (Cervus canadensis canadensis).
Eastern Elk were larger.
The Eastern elk subspecies existed in North America until 1877, when the last known specimen was shot in Pennsylvania. It was noted by scientists as being much larger than the elk species of today, boasting racks as long as six feet in length. Eastern bull elk could stand as tall as 60 inches at the shoulder and weigh more than a thousand pounds.
Not everyone believes they are totally extinct, however. It is suspected that some form of the elk subspecies still lives onâ€”in New Zealand. Former US President Theodore Roosevelt gifted a small herd of elk to New Zealand in 1905. Experts believe that the herd included several individuals of Eastern elk, which may have eventually begun breeding with local animals.
Sonja and her father have started a Kickstarter funding page to raise enough money for DNA-testing of her Elk.