Almost as big as the mighty elephant, the auroch was able to roam around in the fields of Europe for 250,000 years until the year 1627 when it became extinct. But there may me more to this story as Scientists have been able to resurrect the super cow auroch which was one of the largest mammal in the European continent.
Many scientists who had the opinion that this ancient mammal was the key to maintain the ecosystem of the region are on the verge of creating the fourth generation of their experiment to replace auroch as a part of their re-wilding initiative called the Tauros Project. To prevent some of the land areas from becoming barren scientists began breeding cattle breeds similar to auroch in 2008. From their research they found that it was possible to, “produce animals far closer to the auroch than we would have expected,” sated by Ronald Goderie, a member of the new Tauros Project.
By using the back-breeding method, a process in which mating is done between some chosen varieties of existing cattle breeds, scientists are of the opinion that they would be able to develop a large animal similar to the auroch soon. There have been lots of calves which taken birth since the inception of the Tauros project in the year 2009. With the birth of each of the successive generations the scientists believe they are coming ear to achieve their objective.
The main characteristics of the auroch, such as its huge size – auroch was almost seven feet in height and also had a weight of more than one tonne – along with its very their quick tempers, are some of the key traits which they scientists are trying to incorporate as they aim to bring back auroch from the dead. Experts believe that by the year 2025 they will be able to create a “near 100% substitute” in the seven generations. Also fourth-generation animals are already present in some of the countries such as Portugal, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Romania as well as Spain with some “very promising” results.
After noticing that one of such genetically developed herds was able to defend itself from wolves, Goderie said, “We see progress not only in looks and behavior but also in de-domestication of the animals.”
Though the main motive behind the research is make sure they become an integral part of our ecosystem some people believe that might not pan out well for us. A representative of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature was unclear about the subject and said, “whether primarily wetland forests like the aurochs used to inhabit still exist, whether it could negatively impact wild or domestic plants or animals, and if it might endanger people.”
In 2015, almost half of his heard comprised of the auroch descendent Heck cattle were killed by a British farmer because they kept on trying to kill him. He killed the dangerous cows and turned them into “very tasty” sausages which according to him tasted similar to venison. The species which were killed were an outcome of a Nazi breeding program involving mainly the Spanish fighting varieties of cows.
The breed which was created by the German zoologists with collaboration with the brothers Lutz Heck and Heinz, who were given responsibility by the Nazi party to create a cattle breed similar to auroch.
Derek Gow said, “What the Germans did with their breeding program was create something truly primeval. When the Germans were selecting them to create this animal they used Spanish fighting cattle to give them the shape and ferocity they wanted.”