Aurochs Facts

Aurochs Facts
Aurochs is extinct type of wild ox from the family Bovidae. Fossil evidences suggest that aurochs originates from India, where it appeared 2 million years ago. From India, aurochs moved to Europe, Central Asia and North Africa, and evolved in three different subspecies (Indian, Eurasian and North African aurochs). Aurochs once inhabited open fields and plains, steppes, taiga, marshes and floodplain forests. Last known aurochs died in 1627, in the Jaktorow forest in Poland. Hunting, habitat fragmentation and domestication are the main factors that led to the extinction of aurochs.
Interesting Aurochs Facts:
Aurochs was able to reach 6 feet in height (at the shoulders) and 1.500 to 3.300 pounds of weight. Males were much bigger than females.
Males (bulls) were covered with dark brown or black shaggy coat with light stripe on the back, while females (cows) were reddish-brown colored.
Aurochs had large skull and strong, muscular neck and shoulders. Its legs were longer and stronger than legs of domestic cattle.
Aurochs had large (around 31 inches long) forward curved horns. Both males and female were equipped with horns, but they were much bigger in males.
Aurochs was grazer. Its diet was based on the grass during the most part of the year. Twigs and acorns were usually consumed during the winter.
People in Anatolia and on the Near East worshiped aurochs as sacred animals during the Iron Age.
Pictures of aurochs can be seen in many caves, including the famous Lascaux cave in France with pictures of aurochs painted 17.000 years ago.
Aurochs is an ancestor of domestic cattle. Zebu cattle in the South Asia are descendants of Indian subspecies of aurochs, while taurine cattle in Europe are descendants of Eurasian subspecies of aurochs.
Aurochs had lived and traveled in the herds of around 30 animals.
Bulls were very aggressive and they frequently battled with each other to establish dominance and get opportunity to mate with females during the late summer and early autumn.
Calves born during the spring were tightly associated with their mothers during the early period of their life (when they were easy targets of various predators).
Wolves, bears, tigers, hyenas and lions were natural enemies of aurochs.
Aurochs are described as swift, fearless and very aggressive animals in "The Gallic War", book written by Julius Cesar.
In 1920, Heck brothers from the Germany zoo decided to re-create aurochs through selective breeding of modern cattle. Created animal was large ox that was morphologically similar, but genetically far away from true aurochs.
Many breeds of cattle have primitive, hard and robust, aurochs-like appearance, but their number on the farms is slowly declining because they do not produce enough meat or milk like modern breeds of cattle.

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