Bos Taurus Cattle
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Bos Taurus Cattle
Bos Taurus cattle are the species of cattle native to Europe. Due to
centuries of European colonization, however, this species of cattle can now be found all over the world, including
both North and South America, Australia, and some parts of Africa and Asia.
Bos Taurus cattle live, on average, 18 to 25 years. They are
quadruped mammal herbivores, and survive by grazing on an enormous variety of plant life. Extremely
adaptable, different species of Bos Taurus live in a wide variety of environments, ranging from tropical rain
forests to arid semi-desert plains. Some species are migratory, moving throughout the yearly cycle due to
food and water availability.
Bos Taurus are herd animals. Herds range in size from a minimum of
around ten members and up, with some herds growing into the hundreds. Most herds have one dominant male who
mates with all the females. Female gestation takes about 9 to 11 months before birthing a single (or very
rarely two) young in the spring. Young cattle usually inherit their mother's position in the herd
"Cattle" is just a generic term applying to a herd of Bos Taurus.
Different types of words are used to apply to individual cattle. Young cattle of both genders are called
calves. Young females that have not yet given birth are heifers. Adult females that have birthed calves
are cows. Adult, uncastrated males are bulls. Adult, castrated males are steers. Adult, castrated
males used as draft animals are oxen (singular ox). Cattle (of either gender) raised primarily to provide
meat for human consumption are called beef cattle, while cattle raised primarily to provide milk are called dairy
cattle. Male calves of dairy cows used for veal are called veal calves.
Bos Taurus cattle have been domesticated and herded by humans since before
recorded history—archeological evidence suggests it goes back as far as the early Neolithic age. Bos Taurus
cattle are raised for meat (beef and veal), milk (and associated dairy products), their hides (leather), as draft
animals, and even in certain sports. For example, in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, bullfighting is a
popular spectator sport. In the southwestern United States, riding a wild bull is one of the main events of
the rodeo competitions.
Humans raise Bos Taurus cattle by allowing herds to roam freely over large
rangelands and graze on the grasses and other scrub growing there. In Europe and the western world, cattle
herd movements are controlled mainly through the use of physical fences. In places where scrub grows wild,
but the soil is too poor for growing agricultural crops, cattle ranches are especially popular. Through
cattle herding (among other animals, such as goats), the land can still be put to productive use. Depending
in the breed, Bos Taurus cattle can survive though grazing in hills, heaths, marshes, moors, and semi-desert
Through history, Bos Taurus cattle have been used as beasts of burden (and
in some parts of the world, still are). Oxen are generally castrated males from the larger and heavier
breeds. Although not as fast as horses, oxen could pull harder and longer and thus were used to haul enormous
loads, such as felled trees in the logging industry. Typical uses for draft cattle (oxen) include plowing,
transportation, cargo hauling, and powering machines such as irrigation pumps or grain mills.
This article researched and written by a paid professional