Friday, 20 November 2020

The Prejlerup aurochs

The Prejlerup aurochs is from the same island as the Vig bull, namely Zealand, Denmark. It is also from about the same time (early Holocene) and thus from the same population. 
Some sources on the web claim it is about 190cm tall, and based on photos that seems realistic. That means that in life the bull might have approached 2 meters withers height. 
I have reconstructed that skeleton previously, see here. Recently I did another reconstruction, also by directly reconstructing from a photograph. This is the result: 
You can see the typical morphology of the aurochs very clearly. The trunk is much shorter, the legs longer and the skull larger than in domestic cattle. The body is, as suggested by the skeleton, very muscular and athletic. The shoulder hump is very large. Of modern cattle, only some Lidia (Spanish fighting) bulls come close to this morphology. Interestingly, the horns of the Prejlerup bull are quite the opposite of that of the Vig specimen, despite being from the same population. The horns of the Vig bull are comparably upright and not that strongly curved, while the horns of the Prejlerup bull are forwards-curving and with a strong inwards curve. 

Looking at the reconstructed morphology of the bull, it is very plausible that it was a very swift and agile animal, as historic written sources suggest. 

7 comments:

  1. The hump is sadly a rare trait in domestic cattle, Lidia and Maremmana shows it in a reduced mass. I know Maremmana have some negativ traits (upwards pointing horns, dilution-gen) but i like Maremmana corssbreeds in backbreeding projects.

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  2. Depending on the subspecies this is surprisingly similar to the Tembadau/Banteng (Bos Javanicus) conformation. The Tembadau has a shorter, muscled body, long legs and more sloping backline, like the Danish skeletons. Perhaps the Banteng is a good physical model for the Aurochs, aside from hornshape.
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    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/401735229236347130/
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    https://cff2.earth.com/uploads/2017/01/03142624/Bos-javanicus.jpg
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    https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-phenotypic-characteristics-standard-of-a-Bali-bull-Bos-javanicus_fig1_343319244

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    1. Also to note that the Tembadau's musculature changes with hormone cycles that coincide with breeding season, similar to deer during rutting season.

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    2. That sounds interesting, do you have a source for that?

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  3. Aurochs skull:
    https://sevilla.abc.es/provincia/sevi-descubren-valencina-craneo-usado-como-ofrenda-prehistorica-202011152001_noticia.html

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  4. Humpty Dumpty 401...
    https://corriente.us/2018-texas-corriente-cattle-show-results/

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    1. I just wanted to say :
      crossing in this could be a way to acquire humps.
      Maybe it would work best for not-too-large breeds,
      like Maronesa or Pajuna.

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