Fascinating book on the aurochs, including the quite unbelievable story of how the Heck brothers bred `reconstituted' aurochs.
From the publisher's announcement:
This book tells the comprehensive story of the extinct aurochs, the wild ancestor of our domestic cattle, and of what is still left of it. Not only until its extinction in 1627, the aurochs, because of its appearance and nature, had left a deep impression on people, but also afterwards this bovine species, due to scanty information and questionable interpretations, has been subject to discussion and mystification. In spite of a growing amount of individual scientific studies, no exhaustive overview on this subject has ever been made. After many years of research at Wageningen University, the existing information as well as numerous new or unused data from the fields of arcaeozoology, history, philology, ecology and palaeoecology have been brought together by the author to build up a complete picture of the physical appearance, the way of life and the environment of the aurochs.
PREFACE - WORD OF THANKS - INTRODUCTION - SOURCES FOR AUROCHS RESEARCH - SYSTEMATICS AND EVOLUTION - The scientific name - Evolution - Systematics - DISTRIBUTION AREA - North Africa - Asia - Europe - Occurrence within the range limits - DECLINE AND DISAPPEARANCE - Outside Europe - Inside Europe - The last living area - Causes of extinction - LANGUAGE AND SYMBOLISM - Etymology - Toponyms - The aurochs-European bison confusion - Nature and symbolism - CHARACTERISTICS OF THE AUROCHS - Size - Comparison of the Pleistocene and the Holocene aurochs - The Holocene aurochs - The height of the withers - Horns - Size - Colour - Shape - Position - The colour of the fur - Pictures and descriptions - Genetic aspects of the fur colour - Comparison with related bovine species - Reconstruction of the fur colour of the aurochs - Other physical characteristics - Hooves - Udder - Fur - Hide - CHANGES RESULTING FROM DOMESTICATION - ECOLOGY OF THE AUROCHS AND OTHER WILD CATTLE - Habitat - The natural landscape of Europe - Introduction - Insects - Pollen research - Roman writers - Frontier forests - The last Central-European wilderness - Food - Reconstruction of the food of the aurochs in its original habitat - The habitat of the aurochs - Other bovine species - Reconstruction of the aurochs habitat - Seasonal migration - Summary - Predation - Social structure and reproduction - The impact of large herbivores on the forest growth - Introduction - Areas comparable to Europe - Population density of wild cattle - The effects of feeding: forest elephants, European bison and others - Wood Buffalo National Park: A case study - Discussion - THE BREEDING-BACK EXPERIMENT OF THE HECK BROTHERS - Cattle breeds - The breeding-back experiment - Evaluation of the breeding-back experiment - Description of Heck cattle - FINAL REMARKS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS - The animal - Effects and landscape - The animal in the landscape - Summary of conclusions and recommendations - Appendix - REFERENCES - REGISTER