AUROCHS

The aurochs had longer legs than the domestic cattle we know today and the size was impressive. The ox was an important but also dangerous hunting game for people in the paleolithic and mesolithic periods. The ox’s long and forward-curved horns and its body size made it a dangerous opponent.

In Denmark there are several findings of aurochs especially from the paleolithic and the mesolithic settlements. Two findings are especially well-known – the aurochs from Vig and the aurochs from Prejlerup – both were found with arrow heads in them.

Facts

Scientific name: Bos primigenius.

Length: Male approximately 2,4 m. Female smaller.

Height: Male approximately 1,8 m (Shoulder-height). Female approximately 1,5 m (Shoulder-height).

Weight: Male approximately 800 kg.

Food source: Plants like grass and herbs but also low shrubs.

Distribution: Found in Europe, North Africa, and Asia.

Status: Extinct, but the aurochs is the ancestor of our domestic cattle. The aurochs lived in Denmark from the end of the last ice age. It disappeared from Zealand and Funen 7,500-7,000 years ago and some thousand years later also from Jutland. The aurochs’ prevalence was strongly influenced by human activity and the clearance of semi-open forest. The aurochs survived in the Central European forests until the beginning of the 17th century, where the last specimen died in Poland.

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