Giant, deerlike Hoofed Mammal of Central Europe.
Etymology: Middle High German word. This term, used in the Nibelungenlied (Adventure 16), is considered by some authorities to refer to a giant deer alive in Austria in the Middle Ages.
Variant name: Shelk.
Significant sightings: Giant deer (Megaloceros or Eucladoceros) are depicted in Late Paleolithic (25,000-12,000 years ago) cave art in France and Spain. Scythian artifacts from the Black Sea region dating from the sixth century B.C. may also show these animals or at least indicate knowledge of fossil deer remains; the antlers are a close match to those of a Megaloceros. See IRISH DEER.
Sources: A. von Bachofen-Echt, "Bildliche
Darstellung des Riesenhirsches aus vorgeschichtlicher und geschichtlicher Zeit," Zeitschrift fur Saugetierkunde 12 (1937): 80-88; Karl Shuker, In Search ofPrehistoric Survivors (London: Blandford, 1995), p. 169; Christian Zuchner, "Grotte Chauvet Archaeologically Dated," paper presented at the International Rock Art Congress, Vila Real, Portugal, September 6-12, 1998, on line at http:// www.rupestre.net/tracce/12/chauv.html.
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