De eland in het Holoceen van Nederland. 1: Algemeen
Cranium , Volume 17 - Issue 1 p. 30- 46
The oldest known fossils of the elk (Alces alces) originated from Eurasia and are dated at about 100.000-150.000 years. Nowadays, the elk is a common animal in the northern areas, but is strictly spoken not limited to these areas. During a considerable part of the Holocene the elk could be found in a much larger area, including The Netherlands. This article reconstructs the occurrence of the elk in The Netherlands during the Holocene. Only one historic source of occurrence of the elk is known from The Netherlands: a hunting permit for the province of Drenthe (944 until 1025 A.D.). To study the fossil remains of the elk, a as complete as possible inventory was made of all elk remains in museums, institutes and private collections. For recognition of elk material some determination marks of elk bones and figures for sex- and age determinations are included in this article. The Holocene data show that the fossil remains of the elk were found in all parts of The Netherlands during the Holocene and that the animal was probably a permanent inhabitant of the area. Bone measurements suggest that the dimensions of elk were larger in the early Holocene than they are at present. Elk antler was also very appreciated for making varied valuable objects from it. At the time of the extinction of the elk, the early middle ages, people started with the cultivation and reclaiming of the land. In the province of Drenthe the last permit for elk hunting in The Netherlands was reported in this period. No fossil remains were found after this period. It appears that the extinction of the elk was probably caused by habitat destruction in combination with hunting pressure.
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