Thursday, 24 September 2015

Aurochs illustrations showing their natural behaviour

Since most of my aurochs illustrations are rather technical, I felt like doing some lifelier drawings. I intended to show natural behaviour of wild and domestic cattle that surely was true for the aurochs as well, and also some episodes reported from Jaktorow. 

The bull on the lower drawing is a life restoration of the huge Pleistocene skull fragment + horns (here). Aurochs humping domestic cows is a behaviour reported by Schneeberger in Gesner 1602, and also suggested by genetics. Schneeberger also wrote of a cow that he witnessed which was very mangled and he believed it would not survive the next winter. The cow at the lower right of the lower drawing is meant to be an illustration of that individual - I think it is the first time that someone illustrated a particular, once-living aurochs individual that really existed and was physically described in the literature. My drawing of the carcass of the last living aurochs is basically just any dead aurochs cow, on the other hand.

More illustrations of natural and reported behaviours are to come. 

And just for fun: Who wants to guess which breed the body shape of the cow at the lower left on the upper drawing is based on? (I tracked it out based on a photo)


  1. Brown Holstein ?? ... No clue with the cow : )

    PD: Radom cattle picture from internet. Bad head but the body shape is quite good!

    1. Yep, it was a Holstein cow with a quite aurochs-like body. Not a brown one, a black-pied one, I just used the body shape for my drawing. I made the belly a bit slender though.
      Thanks for the link, I knew this pic already, it was also discussed on the Carnivora aurochs thread. It's a "normal" Heck bull, the bull was stretching in the moment the photo was taken, so it looks more athletic than it is, but it seemingly is better than usual for Heck cattle.

    2. I think he added the brown cow due to this:
      Aurochs may have interbred with cattle back in the day

  2. I'd want to report you this video of a very interesting Lidia cow with her newborn calf. I think this individual looks almost perfect for coat color, skull, right horn and body shape. The left horn doesn't seem to be a problem as it could simply be a result of a healed fracture of the horn-core base.