When Dutch explorers settled the Province of the Cape of Good Hope in the 17th Century, they encountered a beast that reminded them of the largest member of the deer family—the moose. Since Europeans typically refer to moose as “elk”, the beast, a large antelope, was bestowed the name “eland”. Eland is Dutch for elk. Both elk and common eland are hoofstock, but are members of distinctly different families of hoofstock. Elk are members of the family Cervidae—the deer family and eland are members of the family Bovidae. Elk and eland live in distinctly different parts of the world, and while elk grow antlers, eland have horns. The
The common eland with its spiraled horns is just as large as a moose, but that is about the extent of how similar they are to each other. Moose have antlers, which they shed seasonally, as do true elk and deer species—the other members of the family Cervidae. With the exception of caribou, antlers are found only in male cervids. The horns of bovids, on the other hand are permanent unbranched, bony structures extending from the frontal bone of the skull. These bony cores are covered in keratinized sheaths and occur in all shapes and sizes depending on the species.