Monday, May 24, 2010

Is the Taurus Bull Really an Auroch?

By Milky Way Maid

Recently I picked up an old novel called Sarum, about the long overview of southern British history centered on the cathedral town of Salisbury. One of the episodes in the more ancient segment was the hunting of an auroch.

An auroch was, according to bestuff.com, "The aurochs or urus (Bos primigenius) was a very large type of cattle that was prevalent in Europe until its extinction in 1627." It stood about two meters high at the shoulder; this was the height of a rare skeleton found in a Danish bog in 1905. The last of the breed died in Poland in 1627. The closest descendants of the auroch include the gaur, the bantang, the zebu, and Spanish fighting cattle. The horns were very distinctive, sweeping forward and up.
The description of the horns matches the traditional images of a Taurus bull, doesn't it?

The auroch is believed to be the ancestor of all domesticated cattle, which are much smaller in size. Attempts to breed a new aurochs from cattle with atavistic characteristics have not been a complete success. A herd was created, but the horns pointed to the sides like with a Texas longhorn, or a water buffalo. Also the colors were not accurate. The bulls were almost always black, and the cows were a reddish color. The recreated herd had more color variety.

The aurochs have been identified as the breed depicted in cave paintings from all over the world. Aurochs ranged from Britain, across Europe and into parts of China. A somewhat different variety was found in India.

Paste the URLs below to read more about this giant breed of cattle.
http://www.petermaas.nl/extinct/speciesinfo/aurochs.htm