The Zebu, also known as Bos taurus indicus, is an animal considered different enough from traditional cattle to warrant its own subspecies. Like all cattle, the Zebu is closely related to the buffalo, bison, sheep, and goat. There are over 70 different species of Zebu that are currently recognized. Many of them have resulted as a cross between the Zebu and Taurine, making them adaptable to a variety of climates. Unlike most cattle, the Zebu is not recognized primarily for being a source of meat. In fact, it is considered to be a sacred animal of Hinduism. Zebus primarily live in herds. However, if kept on farms, Zebu’s milk and manure are used for a variety of purposes.
Fun Facts About the Zebu:
- The Zebu is an animal that has inspired stories for thousands of years. Some of the earliest cave drawings ever found have featured them, so it is likely the relationship between man and the Zebu is one of the oldest there is.
- The Zebu wasn’t introduced into North America until the 19th century.
- Some of the most popular breeds include the American Brahman, the gyr (or gir), and the kankrej.
- The Zebu actually evolved from a now-extinct species of cattle called the Auroch. According to scientists estimates, the Zebu first appeared approximately 8,000 years ago in Southern Asia. The Zebu eventually (4,000 years give or take) made its way to Egypt, where it is widely recognized as the first domesticated cattle.
- Instead of being a meat source, the Zebu is most known for serving the role of a working and riding animal.