Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Some neat Corriente

Corriente is one of those American breeds that descends from Iberian cattle that were brought to the Americas during colonization. It is used in Rodeo fights, among other purposes. Corriente is said to be a small breed and is phenotypically diverse, especially concerning their colour. A number of members of that breed has surprisingly aurochs-like proportions and body shape, even with a well-developed hump. I think Lidia may be among the cattle this breed descended from. Within the bandwidth of colours in Corriente, there clearly is the potential to breed a perfectly aurochs-coloured strain. Also the horns of some individuals are pretty good. In my opinion, a breeding project using well-selected Corriente and supplying them with breeds that add what is needed would create a herd that resembles the aurochs to a large extent. This would increase the genetic diversity for a metapopulation of aurochs-like herds all around Europe.

Here you have a collection of photos showing aurochs-like Corriente:


  1. It is possible that Lidia did contribute to Corriente genetics. However there is another story that I like better. That Corriente were isolated in the Mexican highlands region for an extended period without castration allowing fit traits to reassert themselves in the population.

    Another point to make is that they are not used for rodeo fights but rather for roping, rodeo demonstrations and competitions amongst cowboys where they catch the cattle with a rope.

    Criollo type cattle in North and South America were only recently in the last 100 years separated into the breeds we know today. In the United States we have Pineywoods (rare), Florida Cracker (rare), Texas Longhorn, and Corriente. Of all of these there are a variety of strains. It is also fairly common to cross Texas Longhorn with Corriente to produce rodeo grade cattle.

    I see that in the photographs of cattle on many of the Corriente and Texas Longhorn breeder's websites that they often breed for a certain type. Often with Corriente that is a solid black with no mealy mouth or dorsal stripe, because of their use in roping a more athletic body type is still selected for. In Texas Longhorns it is usually colorful piebald animals with very large lateral horns and a beef conformation. This seems to be the case with many heritage cattle breeds with good Auroch features mentioned on this blog. The Auroch features are to often selected against even in the preservation breeds.

    I hope that more heritage cattle breeders become aware of what are truly primitive features in their cattle and work to preserve those traits both by some breeders perhaps intentionally creating more Auroch like strains within breed and by simply not selecting against the features.

    Just in looking around at semen and animals available in Corriente and Texas Longhorn it is obvious that relatively few Auroch like bulls are selected for semen collection, this could mean that the breeds are rapidly becoming less Auroch like over time.

    1. Southern primitive cattle face the same problem you describe in your last paragraph. I can't blame the breeders, since most of them probably don't know what an aurochs is or looks like and what's the point of breeding for that.

      But I think a mix based on Corriente x Texas Longhorn has the potential for a quite aurochs like population if the right founding individuals are chosen. Corriente has the aurochs colour, good proportions and body shape, and often the right horn curvature. Texas Longhorn add a useful horn size, are a little larger and sometimes have a colour that isn't bad either.
      Would be interesting to breed such an american aurochs effigy, they could then be shipped to Europe to contribute to the population of other aurochs-effigy breeds. That would also enable the single project to use a higher degree of inbreeding to fixate aurochs-like traits.

    2. If you consider the Texas Longhorn and the Corriente as just two components of the Criollo landrace and how readily available the crossbreeds are already, it could just be a matter of getting the size, conformation, color, and horn shape right. I doubt you could get the full Auroch size without further crossbreeding though. You might have a marketing advantage for rodeo stock if you stuck with just Criollo cattle.

      If you wanted something more Auroch like then you could achieve from Longhorn X Corriente, I think it would become a four breed program, though you might start with existing crossbreeds. If I were doing it I would look to purchase existing Watusi Texas Longhorn crosses, and existing Corriente Texas Longhorn Crosses with correct coloration and other Auroch traits. Then I would try to find some Chianina as good as the ones the Uruz program is starting with.

      I think it would be just as likely for any serious effigy breeders in the United States to simply import semen and embryos from an existing effigy breed in Europe such as Taurus cattle which already have cross breeds that could have all the important features.

      For introducing North American Criollo traits into European effigy breeding programs you might need look no further than http://www.texaslonghorn.ch/texas-longhorn.html

      However, using Texas Longhorns is problematic anyway you do it because they are being selectively bred specifically for colorful spotting and long straight horns. Unless you can find a breeder who is already intentionally bucking that trend!

  2. Kouprey (Bos sauveli) seem like a worthy target for breeding back or de-extinction similarly to Auroch. I found mention of papers in 2006 and 2007 the first of which discredited the species as a hybrid and the second of which reestablished it as a true species. Apparently there was some mating with Cambodian Banteng that probably happened during the Pleistocene. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/10/071005-kouprey.html

    Do you know if anyone is working to sequence the Kouprey genome or if anyone has thoughts on a breeding back or de-extinction project for it?

    1. I also considered that already, but I think a way better alternative might be to clone it - there are some preserved skins and also a number of skulls around in museums or maybe also collections. I think it would be possible to get the full genome of a number of individuals from that, it's extinction might be recent enough. Apart from that, it's not certain if not some herds survived till today, although I honestly doubt that.

  3. One good things about the Corriente is that you don't have to buy the animals .Just google
    Corriente seemen and you can just buy seemen from what ever Corriente bull you like that have had seemen collected .And the best Corriente that have been selcted for agilty and speed.