Today’s animal of the day is the auroch. Thousands of years ago, this species of cattle were among the most widespread grazing animals on Earth. The last known Aurochs died in 1627 in Poland. Due to population pressure from humans and domestic cattle, their species became extinct.
Additional Facts About Aurochs
- Aurochs roamed the plains of Asia, Europe, and Northern Africa. They played a vital role across multiple human cultures as they appear in numerous art pieces worldwide.
- Bos Primigenius is the scientific name of Aurochs. This Latin term means ‘original’ or ‘firstborn.’
- Aurochs resembled present-day cattle, except with longer legs, more prominent horns, bigger shoulder muscles, and a thicker skull. Scientists estimate they may have measured up to six feet tall, weighing between 1500 and 3000 pounds.
- Aurochs had dark black coats with white or brown stripes running down their spine. Female aurochs were smaller than the males, with smaller horns and lighter coat colors.
- They consumed grass, acorns, and twigs, drawing all their nutrients from grazing large tracts of land. A side effect of their extinction was the overgrowth of forests and woodlands.
- Because of their large size, only the fiercest predators such as big cats and wolves dared to attack them. As humans refined animal husbandry, aurochs gradually died out due to loss of habitat, hunting by humans, and disease transmission from other cattle.
- Aurochs share distant relations with antelopes, gazelles, buffalo, sheep, and goats.