The moose (North America) or elk (Eurasia), Alces alces, is the largest extant species in the deer family.Moose are distinguished by the broad, flat (or palmate) antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic ("twig-like") configuration.After expanding for most of the 20th century, the moose population of North America has been in steep decline since the 1990s.
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Confusingly, the word "elk" is used in North America to refer to a different animal, Cervus canadensis, which is also called by the Algonkian indigenous name, "wapiti".
The British began colonizing America in the 17th century, and found two common species of deer for which they had no names.
The word "elk" originated in Proto-Germanic, from which Old English evolved and has cognates in other Indo-European languages, e.g.
elg in Danish/Norwegian; älg in Swedish; alnis in Latvian; Elch in German; and łoś in Polish (Latin alcē or alcēs and Ancient Greek The word "elk" remained in usage because of its existence in continental Europe but, without any living animals around to serve as a reference, the meaning became rather vague to most speakers of English, who used "elk" to refer to "large deer" in general.
John Clayton, in his account of the Virginia Quadrupeds, calls the Elke ...
was in all respects like those of our red-deer or stags, only larger...
Their diet consists of both terrestrial and aquatic vegetation.
The most common moose predators are the gray wolf along with bears and humans.
Their mating season in the autumn features energetic fights between males competing for a female. The word "elk" in North American English refers to a completely different species of deer, the Cervus canadensis, also called the wapiti.