Cervid growth rates. a) Graph of growth zone measurements of cervid femora sampled. Points indicate sample means or measurements of single specimens (see also Additional file 2). Note exceptionally high growth rates in the first two growth zones of Alces and Megaloceros as well as exceptionally low rates of Procervulus. Growth zones numbered, starting with two for the innermost complete zone of the cortex. b) Graph of cervid tibiae sampled. Note the eight times higher growth rate in growth zone two of Megaloceros compared to Candiacervus sp. II (and still twice as high as in C. ropalophorus). c) Regression of average growth rates in cervid femora (n = 12, r = 0.85111, p = 0.0036142.). Shaded region represents the 95% confidence interval. Anteroposterior diameter (APD) of femoral midshaft region is taken as proxy for body mass.