In the polar desert of the high Arctic, underlain by continuous permafrost and commonly snow-covered for much of the year, the paucity of plant growth might seem unsurprising. Although low temperatures and lack of moisture exert a strong influence on plant life and can greatly diminish the rate at which plants can grow, these are nevertheless not the only factors involved. Lack of mineral nutrients, in an environment where chemical weathering is inhibited, may play an even greater part. In consequence, where nutrient-rich decaying animal bones are present, it is not uncommon to find growing upon them a luxuriant vegetation of mosses and vascular plants, together with less spectacular algae and lichens, which show up in striking contrast to the barren ground around them. These microhabitats, in turn, carry their own fauna of invertebrates. This paper examines, in detail, one such specimen and its flora and fauna — a 2000-year-old shed caribou antler from the ground surface at Cape Herschel, Ellesmere Island, 78°N.