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11 January 2017 09:13:21 |Cattle,News

Elephant-sized 'auroch' cow could be revived by scientists in the future

The oversized wild cattle known as the aurochs died out in the 1627 (Stock photo)

The oversized wild cattle known as the aurochs died out in the 1627 (Stock photo)

Plans are well underway to resurrect an ancient species of super cow, echoing a project once planned by the Nazis.
The oversized wild cattle known as the aurochs died out in the 1627, but Adolf Hitler's followers tried to breed a similar beast as part of their Aryan mythology.
Since 2009, two European teams have been 'back-breeding' cattle which still carry the DNA of aurochs in an attempt to bring them back to life.
Founder and ecologist Ronald Goderie told CNN: "We thought we needed a grazer that is fully self-sufficient in case of big predators and could do the job of grazing big wild areas. We reasoned that this animal would have to resemble an auroch.
"We see progress not only in looks and behavior but also in de-domestication of the animals."
'Key ecological role'
The reason it would be beneficial to have herds of aurochs roaming free, they argue, is that the large grazers can serve a key ecological role in maintaining and encouraging the biodiversity of Europe's landscapes.
Conservationists now believe the loss of the keystone herbivore was tragic for biodiversity in Europe.
Of today's cattle, the ecologists said: "None of the current breeds is the optimal grazer for wilderness areas, especially not with big predators around such as wolves, in the bigger European wilderness areas."
Mr Goderie believes that by 2025, the seventh generation of neo-aurochs will be as close as possible to the originals.
In 2015 a British farmer was forced to kill off half his herd of auroch-derived Heck cattle because they kept trying to kill him.

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