Sunday, January 17, 2016

Where do cows come from?

 Under A Clear Blue Sky - SOLD
8" x 8"  oil on panel

No, its not one of those "Mommy, where do babies come from" posts.  This is about the origins of the current domestic cow.  Now this is something you're either interested in knowing, or you've just hit the home button to get you out of this post.

Having lived on a dairy farm for a number of years and having the "maternity" field right next to the house on the farm, I was interested in cows, their behaviour and their personalities.  Yes, they do have personalities just like any other animal.  Some would have names, but a lot were just "cow" as there were so many of them.

Crasher, so named as she would pace up and down the hedgeline looking for an escape route.  Once spotting a weakness the the growth, she'd crash through then stand on the other side wondering how to get back into the field again.

Or Lofty, a full two hands taller than the other cows in the field, so always recognizable and acting somewhat superior because of her height.

Sally was the old matriarch.  Now barren, but still in with the rest of the herd, she'd try claiming every new calf as her own and was always in trouble for it with a new cow mother.

But back to the origins of cows.

From a herd of approximately 80 domesticated in southeast Turkey about 10,500 years ago, the current bovines have been domesticated from a now-extinct species of wild ox, known as aurochs, which roamed across Europe and Asia. Those cattle were then bred into the 1.4 billion cattle estimated by the UN to exist in mid-2011.

The original wild oxen (aurochs) were fierce and 1.5 or 2 times larger than the current domestic cow.  Rumour was that a hunter or traveller would sooner face anything but a wild cow.

There, you now have your "did you know?" coffee break conversation for Monday morning.


Billie Crain said...

This is just the kind of thing that fascinates me. I do believe I watched a TV special about breeders somewhere trying to restore the original auroch line. When I followed your link to Wiki it jogged my memory. Love the tidbit about the individual personalities. Every animal is special in it's own way. Why not cows, too.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

mom cows can be very angry and aggressive when their calves are involved, and can be very dangerous to their own calf if they don't want it. some people don't realize how dangerous they can be

Jeanette Jobson said...

Yes, me too Billie. Its quite a pedigree history for cows and I read too about breeders trying to bring back these larger animals.

Oh yes, personalities indeed. They're such fun creatures.

Jen, I agree. You don't want to interfere with a mother and calf. They're strong animals and single minded when they want to be.

suzanneberry said...

LOVE this!!!!

Jeanette Jobson said...

Isn't she "colourful"? I love the shapes of cows...endlessly interesting to draw and paint. We need a cow painting session...