The Moto Guzzi SuperAlce. Is it an ELK or a MOOSE?

Stand by for a rather pedantic discussion.

The word ALCE for our beloved motorbikes comes from the Latin or Scientific Name of the a European animal, Alces alces the EUROPEAN ELK. The common Italian word ALCE is derived directly from its Latin root. This is the animal which our Guzzi Factory designers had in mind when they named the ALCE and later the SuperALCE motorbikes.

The word ELK is derived from Old English and Greek roots and refers to the largest deerlike animal roaming throughout northern Europe and northern Asia.

When the first pioneer settlers came to North America the eastern natives told them of a huge deer. The natives called it a MOOSE, an Algonquin Indian name meaning “eater of twigs”. It turned out to be the same animal that they had been calling ELK in Europe. The American MOOSE is Alces alces americana and thus a subspecies of the the same animal as the EUROPEAN ELK. At a later time, other pioneers found another large variety of deer in the western regions and called that one ELK. Turns out what they had now called ELK was the American ELK which is scientifically Cervus elaphus and thus only distantly related to the European ELK and other members of the deer family. The native Americans called this same animal WAPITI. We should probably learn to use that name out of historical respect for out native cultures and to help eliminate confusion among the languages.

A MOOSE or EUROPEAN ELK looks like this . Click the photo to enlarge. Please note the large flat areas of the antlers with tines coming off of the flats.

An AMERICAN ELK or WAPITI looks like this . Click the photo to enlarge. Please note the thin, fully branching tines of the antlers. There is no central flat area to these antlers.

So, should you call it a Super ELK or a Super MOOSE? Probably either would suffice. But if you wish to use ELK, then you should probably clarify in detail by calling it your Super EUROPEAN ELK.

Here are a few interesting web links to support this information.

Now then, doesn't that make you feel a lot better?

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