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I am Auroch, I am an Island (. . . I'm sorry)
July 2, 2010 8:58 AM   Subscribe

“The only place to see an aurochs [sic] in nature these days? A cave painting. The enormous wild cattle that once roamed the European plains have been extinct since 1627, when the last survivor died in a Polish nature reserve. But this could soon change thanks to the work of European preservationists who are hoping they can make the great beast walk again.”

A previous attempt to "breed back" the Auroch from its descendants had mixed success, resulting in Heck Cattle - slightly larger than contemporary breeds, but not as big as the mighty auroch of yesteryear.

Leave it to Fox to find the best headline.
posted by Think_Long (53 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
One more place to see an aurochs.
posted by gurple at 9:01 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nazi cows, Nazi cows...fuck off!
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:03 AM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


This game is where I first heard of aurochs.
posted by kmz at 9:04 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


One more place to see an aurochs.

One Auroch may feed a villiage, but a herd will flatten it.
posted by yoyoceramic at 9:05 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wikipedia:

Scientists of the Polish Foundation for Recreating the Aurochs (PFOT) in Poland want to use DNA from bones in museums to recreate the aurochs and return this animal to the forests of Poland. The project has gained the support of the Polish Ministry of the Environment.

Yes let's do this please. 1 ticket to future forests of Poland.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:06 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, Poland had nature preserves in 1627? Would they really have been considered that or were they just the king's hunting grounds or something?
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:08 AM on July 2, 2010


NAZI COWS INVADE POLAND
posted by Mister_A at 9:14 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would like that.
posted by ob at 9:16 AM on July 2, 2010


I think this is cool, but I wonder if there is an actual need or benefit to this, or is it more a "because we can" thing?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:18 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


This game is where I first heard of aurochs.
posted by The Confessor at 9:21 AM on July 2, 2010


NAZI COWS INVADE POLAND

Historically, Poland was the homeland of aurochs.
posted by DU at 9:22 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is kind of a derail, but I'm interested in the philosophical reason a cave painting is "in nature" but wikipedia isn't.
posted by DU at 9:23 AM on July 2, 2010


NAZI COWS RE-INVADE POLAND is not as punchy.
posted by Mister_A at 9:27 AM on July 2, 2010


This is kind of a derail, but I'm interested in the philosophical reason a cave painting is "in nature" but wikipedia isn't.

I wouldn't put too much of effort into parsing the language of a Time Magazine article.

Click here to read the Time Magazine Top Ten list of keywords we pulled from this article
posted by Think_Long at 9:27 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aurochs! Yes! I want one or one hundred.
posted by Neofelis at 9:30 AM on July 2, 2010


"Oohh, Aahh, that's how all of this starts, but then later there's the running and screaming"
posted by bearwife at 9:32 AM on July 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


This is a fascinating idea, but I have to wonder what the point of bringing back the aurochs is for ecology (as opposed to say, for tourism). Maybe it's a proof of concept for other, more different creatures. But it's not like we're bringing back the medieval habitat for these beasties, and it's not like there aren't other types of cattle, admittedly mostly domesticated, that hit similar niches. I'm all for trying to keep habitat and keep species that currently are headed for extinction from dying out, but the admittedly high cool factor of breeding back the auroch seems a lot higher than the practical utility of doing it for anyone but the scientists and breeders involved.

Maybe I could tell better if I weren't an ignorant American who's relying on Google translate to make sense of the Dutch link.
posted by immlass at 9:35 AM on July 2, 2010


Never apologize for your puns.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:36 AM on July 2, 2010


...and the slaying of the ancient wyrm...
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:37 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think this is cool, but I wonder if there is an actual need or benefit to this, or is it more a "because we can" thing?

That, and the joy of the thing.
posted by JHarris at 9:39 AM on July 2, 2010


Great post. I only knew about Aurochs through Magic: The Gathering (which also added other things to my vocabulary like "legerdomain" and "cantrip").
posted by codacorolla at 9:42 AM on July 2, 2010


Bring back the tarpan too!
posted by sciurus at 9:48 AM on July 2, 2010


I, uh. I first heard of aurochs while reading that horrible caveman porn series. Oh, the shame.

WHATEVS, YOU ALL KNOW WHICH ONE I MEAN. Don't lie.
posted by elizardbits at 10:04 AM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Bring back aggressive untameable cows that grow to ~7' tall at the shoulder and weigh a ton apiece? What could possibly go wrong?
posted by jamaro at 10:04 AM on July 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


It all began with the aurochs.
posted by xedrik at 10:08 AM on July 2, 2010




What could possibly go wrong?

Cro-Magnon park will have tall electric fences and moats.
posted by stbalbach at 10:11 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


god damn, i want an arouchsburger.
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:13 AM on July 2, 2010


So, if you see my tattoo of an auroch, does that count as seeing one in the wild? I can stand in some woods before I show you my tattoo if that would help.
posted by onhazier at 10:20 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mööööööööö!
posted by chillmost at 10:23 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd also like it known that my tattoo is not a result of reading the series to which elizardbits refers. I never could finish the first book much less the series.
posted by onhazier at 10:23 AM on July 2, 2010


I know, I know, this isn't a thread about magic cards, but the humble Tarpan is also a tappable thing made out of cardstock.

As the op, I wont complain if these becomes a magic card thread. Also, that Tarpan card is pretty good - 1 life for every death, only costs 1 mana? Get me a herd of them.
posted by Think_Long at 10:23 AM on July 2, 2010


I would see restoring the original, extinct, ancestors of domesticated species as part of a program of reparations for the crimes of domestication (now at their historical zenith, in the case of cows, in the form of our feedlots, dairies, and slaughterhouses-- all of which have institutionalized animal torture on a vast industrial scale) and as a gesture of gratitude for the way cows have sustained us over millennia.

For everything cows have done for us, the species itself deserves to be worshiped as a kind of deity, really.
posted by jamjam at 10:27 AM on July 2, 2010


I would see restoring the original, extinct, ancestors of domesticated species as part of a program of reparations for the crimes of domestication . . .

And just think of how good they will taste!

Auroch recipe # 1

**Auroch-oes**

- 1 lb ground Auroch burger
- 1 package taco seasoning
- Hard taco shells
- Sour cream (from Auroch milk??)
- Cheese (also from Auroch)
posted by Think_Long at 10:31 AM on July 2, 2010


I believe they're eating Aurochs in the orgy scene in Asterix in Switzerland.
posted by GuyZero at 10:35 AM on July 2, 2010


It seems that the singular of "aurochs" is also "aurochs"?
posted by breath at 10:37 AM on July 2, 2010


And just think of how good they will taste!

Absolutely.

We always eat our Gods.
posted by jamjam at 10:38 AM on July 2, 2010


jamjam: you forgot the HAMBURGER.

mmm, hamburger.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:40 AM on July 2, 2010


Bring back aggressive untameable cows that grow to ~7' tall at the shoulder and weigh a ton apiece? What could possibly go wrong?

That plan does seem rather unwisent.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:51 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


for everything cows have done for us, the species itself deserves to be worshiped as a kind of deity, really.

This may sound crazy, but I think this would make a good tenet for one of the world's major religions.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:07 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


...and the slaying of the ancient wyrm...

Ref: "The Lament of the Auroch " (rawk)
posted by Bookhouse at 11:11 AM on July 2, 2010


It seems that the singular of "aurochs" is also "aurochs"?

Yeah. The 'ochs' is related to 'ox'.
posted by Catseye at 11:17 AM on July 2, 2010


thus, sacred cow?
posted by Cranberry at 12:42 PM on July 2, 2010


NAZI COWS INVADE POLAND

Bring back aggressive untameable cows that grow to ~7' tall at the shoulder and weigh a ton apiece? What could possibly go wrong?


Don't worry; they'll be Sudeten' 'em.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:57 PM on July 2, 2010


Since "how do they taste" has already been mentioned,
I'll just ask: how supple will the leather be? I want some assless aurochs chaps.
posted by yesster at 1:54 PM on July 2, 2010


Also in this month's Nat Geo. They're like a horny Dougal.
posted by arcticseal at 3:41 PM on July 2, 2010


The beasts you can see the Minoans vaulting over on their frescoes were also aurochs I believe. And by extension the Minotaur would have been half man and half aurochs bull.
posted by rongorongo at 4:57 PM on July 2, 2010


I have to wonder what the point of bringing back the aurochs is for ecology

This is frustrating, because I just read this in an article yesterday and now can't find the link, but apparently aurochs helped to control the number of beech trees in European forests, which are now choking out other species.

Of course, I favor bringing back the auroch because it's cool, and not because I have something against beech trees.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:05 PM on July 2, 2010


I look forward to being able to eat an Auroch steak. I wonder what the flavor's like.

Might be really gamey and unpleasant. If so, maybe we're better off without them.
posted by kafziel at 7:18 PM on July 2, 2010


Kutsuwamushi, it's in that National Geographic article I linked to.
posted by arcticseal at 7:38 PM on July 2, 2010


They will have to build bigger chutes for bull riders.
The cult of the bull demands it.
posted by Iron Rat at 7:52 PM on July 2, 2010


This is frustrating, because I just read this in an article yesterday and now can't find the link, but apparently aurochs helped to control the number of beech trees in European forests, which are now choking out other species.

I read a similar article, but about mammoths and birch trees.
posted by homunculus at 8:46 PM on July 2, 2010


The plural of aurochs is aurochsen. Not too many singular English nouns end is s, as over time people tended to get muddled and dropped the s. This is similar to the way that words beginning with an such as napron (related to napkin) lost their initial n and now begin with a.

This is the game where I most recently killed a herd of aurochsen. You can also tame them and turn them into cows.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:31 PM on July 3, 2010


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