In detail

The aurochs - profile


Characteristics

Surname: Aurochs
Other names: Ur, Urus
Latin name: Bos primigenius
class: Mammals
size: 1.5 - 3m body length
mass: 600 - 1000kg
Older: unknown
Appearance: black to reddish brown coat
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Herbivore (herbivor)
food: Grass and other plant components
distribution: Asia, Europe, North Africa
original origin: India
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: probably open grazing grounds
natural enemies: Big cats
sexual maturity: unknown
mating season: unknown
gestation: about 10 months
social behavior: Herd animal
Threatened with extinction: Extinct
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.

Interesting facts about the aurochs

  • The aurochs or Bos primigenius describes a type of cattle, extinct about five hundred years ago, which is considered the wild form of today's productive cattle.
  • Until the beginning of the Ice Age, the aurochs were among the largest land mammals in Europe. By the end of the Ice Age, his height had decreased significantly.
  • Aurochs were of massive build with long slender limbs, inwardly curved horns and a wide forehead. The bulls could be up to three meters long and one ton heavy.
  • The aurochs had a shiny coat, which was black-brown among the bulls, and a lighter and reddish brown in the cows. Noteworthy were the ocher-colored, on both sides on the back appearing eel stroke, the light brown curls on the forehead and the light dark circles.
  • The auroch is native to Europe, Eurasia, North Africa and India. Depending on their distribution, scientists distinguish between European, Indian and African aurochs.
  • The diet of the aurochs is very similar to that of today's farm and domestic cattle. His teeth indicate that he ate mostly grasses and fresh herbs.
  • The aurochs populated as a day-active herd animal open forests and grasslands. The spread of man gradually drove him out of his habitats. The last wild aurochs were sighted in the 16th century in some marshy forests of Lithuania and Poland.
  • Originally feared and hunted by humans, the auroch was domesticated at the beginning of agriculture. He was not only as a livestock, but also as a cultically worshiped animal of cultural and historical significance.
  • In the thirties of the 20th century, the brothers Lutz and Heinz Heck started an experiment in German zoos in order to breed animals from primitive cattle that had features of the aurochs. Although the experiment succeeded after several crossed generations, these cattle did not reach the size of their extinct relatives.
  • Some domesticated cattle are still very similar to the aurochs today. However, since these primitive breeds are hardly suitable as meat and milk suppliers, they are mainly kept as workhorses, are of little economic importance and therefore also threatened with extinction.