Sunday, January 31, 2010

Trying again for an auroch

Giant cattle to be bred back from extinction
(via futurismic)

image: courtesy of Outsider Inside Estonia

The article keeps asking why anyone would want to bring back a cow with the size and temper of a rhinoceros. A part of me understands, what practical use is an extinct animal to us, anyway? But really, most of me is all, "What? Why WOUDN'T you want to bring back a giant extinct mammal?"

It's interesting that these particular scientists are sticking with practically the same methods that the Nazis used - they're just doing back breeding with similar breeds of cattle. The only modern addition to their technique seems to be that they've mapped the auroch's DNA.

Though personally I'd vote for something more sexy. Like a Paraceratherium .

1 comment:

Retrieverman said...

I'm fine with these things remaining on the Hall of Bulls at Lascaux. They should be focusing on saving the Wisent or European bison. I notice that the Baltic states, which I have to catch myself from calling the Baltic Republics, have no Wisent herds.

I could breed back the St. John's water dog and Tweed water spaniel if I wanted to. it would not be the same animal, even if I had a sophisticated DNA map of what those animals originally were.

We already have feral cattle and semi-domesticated cattle with long horns. The Chillingham cattle, the Spanish fighting cattle, and the Texas longhorn are all of this type.

The Nazis did this because these animals appear in Dark Age Teutonic and Medieval German literature. Siegrfried kills them in the Nibelungenlied.

He also kills something called a Schelch, which may have been the Megaloceros. I don't think anyone is trying to bring those back. He also kills a lion. Lions went extinct in Europe a long time ago. There may have been some that lived in Italy, Greece, and the Balkans into Classical Times. But these were gone by the time that piece was written. By this logic, we sould take the Gir Forest lions, which are the closest relatives of the supposed European lions, and turn them loose in the Schwarzwald.

These aurochsen are counterfeit. It doesn't matter what technique they are using.

I'd also be in favor of bringing back the Indricotherium (the term I use for your Paraceratherium). I prefer that name because it's named after a giant creature that the Russians call an Indrik.