The moo of the wild


Not just about cows! But mostly about cows. Real cows.


In a sense, Pleistocene megafauna are still with us even in post-industrial England. It may not seem like it but the humble heifer is probably the most successful species of megafauna on the planet, outnumbering all the elephants, rhinos, whales, lions, tigers, and hippos put together! The simple cow (1.5 billion and counting), shaped by millennia of domestication into a (mostly) docile and manageable creature is a direct descendant of something so fearsome, and so deadly, that Julius Caesar (himself no slouch in the bellicosity department) described them as “a little below the elephant in size and of the appearance, colour, and shape of a bull. Their strength and speed are extraordinary. They spare neither man nor wild beast which they have espied.”

A beast that terrified the legendary Caesar must have been impressive indeed.

This is the aurochs (Bos taurus primigenius), the wild ancestor of our domestic…

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