1560 Gesner extinct Auroch Urus Bos

1560 Gesner extinct Auroch Urus Bos

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Gesner Woodcut "Icones Animalium" 1560 with recent colouring to approximate more closely to the colour reported for this species. Publ. Christoph Froschover, Zurich. In his account of the now extinct auroch, Gesner works from the account of Heberstein and directly from a woodcut by Augustin Hirsfogel (1556, 1533). Hirsfogel's near identical picture of the auroch has the inscription " I am a urus, called by the Poles a thur, by the Germans an aurox and hitherto also a bison by the ignorant". The confusion is doubtless because both bison and auroch were already rare in Europe - indeed the auroch less than a century from going extinct entirely. The auroch was the ancestor of domestic cattle, bulls reaching 1.8m at the withers, cows 1.5. Hunting contributed to their demise. There have been historical attempts to genetically reconstitute this wild species from cattle. Ref Nazi Heck cattle.

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Keywords: 16th century, ancestor, animalium, animals, artwork, auroch, bestiary, bos, cattle, colour, conrad, domestication, early, extinct, extinction, folklore, gesner, gessner, heck, historiae, hunting, icones, illustration, mammal, natural history, nazi, primigenius, urus, woodcut

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