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.Early European explorers in North America, particularly in Virginia where there were no moose, called the wapiti "elk" because of its size and resemblance to familiar-looking deer like the red deer.
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.
For a long time neither species had an official name, but were called a variety of things.
Eventually, in North America the wapiti became known as an elk while the moose retained its Anglicized Native-American name.
Their diet consists of both terrestrial and aquatic vegetation.