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I found this antler on a beach a couple of weeks ago in Viirginia beach. I was curious about it due to the weight and density compared to other antlers I have picked up over the years and the ammount of crustation growth around the base. I met with a memebr of one of the museums in our area and they believe it is from a whitetail deer and dates to the last ice age. I am looking for as much information as I can related to this antler. IE: How do I get a better idea of it's age? How rare is it? Should I lock it up or allow my 14 year old daughter to take it to school for her science class? Does anybody agree/disagree with their assesment? If not what is your opinion? The museum would like me to donate it. Good idea or bad? I am completely out of my realm here so any and all information or advice would be greatly appreciated. The total length from the tip of the antler to the tip of the skull portion is approximately 17".








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Deer bones and antlers are occasionally found in late ice age deposits along the east coast. Since deer have continued to inhabit the east coast it's possible to find relatively modern bones and antlers out of context which can make dating difficult.

If the local museum has identified the specimen as being old (fossil) I'd recommend donating the antler. If it is old then it's an exceptionally good specimen because most finds are sections, rarely a nearly complete antler. Supporting museums benefits everyone because not only can the specimen possibly be displayed someday it will also remain in the public domain for future research.

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It looks like a second-year antler of the white-tail deer, Odocoileus virginianus. First-year antlers general are just spikes, and the brow tine doesn't appear until the second year. It appears to have the typical white-tail spiral form, with the secondary tines parallel and directed upwards.

Deer antlers, particulary complete ones, aren't that common as Pleistocene beach finds, as jpe notes, so the VMNH might like to have it in their collection. They might even be willing to provide you with a cast.


The plural of "anecdote" is not "evidence".

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I'm no expert on antlers but it does appear to have some skull still attached. I always wondered why the woods were not full of shed antlers since they are made of relatively hard stuff. Then I began to notice the ones I did find all had chew marks. Apparently lots of little critters (mostly rodents?) make quick work of them as nature's chew toys.

The fact that they believe it is Ice Age is neat.

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jpe and Rich, Thank you for the information. I am sure it will end up in a museum, but right now it is my favorite thing in the world. I Will have to get over that some before I can let it go.

erose, yes there is still part of the skull attached and yes it is a race every year to find sheds before they get chewed up.

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