Bos Indicus Cattle
If you came to this page looking for
authoritative information please review the information on the Cattle
Breeders page first and then determine how it can best work for you.
What Are Bos Indicus Cattle?
Bos Indicus cattle are an unusual sight for most of us. Bred to live
in hot climates, these creatures are also referred to as zebu. You'll know them if you see them, because they
have an appearance that's unlike pretty much any other type of cattle. Any animal you see with similar
characteristics is probably descended from the Bos Indicus, and originated in southern Asia.
These cattle are also called humped or indicus cattle. Unlike other
domesticated cattle, which are called taurine cattle, these animals are well adapted to their tropical
environments. They were once considered their own species but are now thought to be a branch of the same
species as more familiar breeds.
It's thought that Zebu cattle were derived from an Asian subspecies of the
aurochs, while European cattle were derived from European aurochs, or giant prehistoric cattle. Guar, a type
of wild cattle in Asia, may also have been involved in the creation of the modern Bos Indicus type. There
have been no wild zebu cattle in Asia since the time of the Indus Valley Civilization, however. Interbreeding
with domesticated animals and reduction of habitat has resulted in the wild type's extinction.
There are seventy-five different known breeds of Bos Inducus cattle, with
about half being native to South Asia and the other half living in Africa. These include the Gyr, Guzerat,
Kankrej and Indo-Brazilian, the famous Brahman of India, the Nelore, Sahiwal, Ongole, Butana, Red Sindi and Boran,
as well as the Philippine Native and Chinese Southern Yellow, among others.
In addition, there are also Sanga cattle, created by hybridizing humped
zebu cattle breeds with native humpless cattle living in Africa. These breeds include the Ankole-Watusi, Red
Fulani and Afrikaner, as well as other breeds. Unlike pure Bos Indicus types, these cattle have small humps
located forward on their backs, while zebu have large shoulder humps, droopy ears, and very large dewlaps.
Adaptations for their environment include pest resistances that European
cattle don't have, as well as a greater distribution of sweat glands. These are partially responsible for
their introduction into Africa by ship. In addition, these animals were brought to Brazil in the early part
of the twentieth century, then crossbred, producing an animal called the Chanchim. These cattle are though to
provide the heat resistance of the zebu and the meat quality of European cattle. Interestingly, a zebu was
successfully cloned at Texas A&M University in the late 1990s.
Bos Indicus cattle are used in hot climates all over the world for meat,
milk, and draft animals. Different breeds are suited to different uses, and it's been said that these animals
produce a tougher meat than taurine cattle. However, this opinion is debated.
What is definitely true is that these animals provide a stronger, better
adapted alternative for farmers working in tropical climates. Where European breeds are unable to easily
survive, the zebu types do well. That's one reason that they've been so widely crossbred, with breeders
hoping to obtain the best traits of both breeds in the offspring. This article
researched and written by a paid professional ghostwriter.