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Tour, or bison

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Tour (Bos primigenius) is an extinct primitive wild bull that is the progenitor of modern cattle. At the same time, the closest living relatives of his are the African bull Vatussi and gray Ukrainian cattle.

Vatussi, or ankole-vatushi, differs from other relatives by its very long horns, which can reach 1.8 meters. Watoussi, like many other breeds of cows, comes from the extinct primitive wild bulls of the tours, which about four thousand years ago came to Africa from the banks of the Nile. In Egypt, on the walls of the pyramids to this day preserved their images. And hunchbacked zebu bulls, at about the same time, came from India and Pakistan to the territory of present-day Ethiopia and Somalia. It was they who, as a result of crossing with Egyptian cows, gave the form, which subsequently became the basis of many breeds of African cattle.

The tour lived in the forest-steppes and steppes of the Eastern Hemisphere from the second half of the anthropogen. In historical times, the tour was found almost throughout Europe, in North Africa, Asia Minor and the Caucasus. The first tour was destroyed by Africa in the third millennium BC. e. Then, by about 600 BC. e., the same teachings befell him in Mesopotamia -. And only in Central Europe did tours last much longer, and their disappearance here coincided with intensive deforestation of European forests in the 9th-11th centuries. Despite the fact that tours were actively exterminated everywhere, in the XII century they were still found in the Dnieper basin. The records of Vladimir Monomakh about the difficult and dangerous hunting of wild bulls date back to this time. By the beginning of the fifteenth century, small herds of tours were preserved only in the relatively sparsely populated and inaccessible forests of Poland and Lithuania.

Here the tours were taken under protection and lived as park animals in the royal lands. But in 1599, in the royal forest, 50 km from Warsaw, the last small herd of rounds of 24 individuals remained, and after three years only 4 animals remained. And finally, in 1627, the last round was killed and the bold was put in the existence of this species on Earth. Interesting fact: the last individual of the wild tour died in forests near Yaktorov, apparently due to a disease that affected a small, isolated and genetically weak population of the last animals of this species.

The tour had a muscular, slender body, with a height at the withers of about 170-180 cm, and its body weight reached up to 800 kg. Long sharp horns crowned a high-set head. The body color of adult males was almost black, and only along the back stretched a narrow white stripe. All females and young animals of both sexes were covered with reddish-brown hair.

The main habitats of the tours are mainly forest-steppe areas, but often they entered both forests and the steppes. They probably migrated to the forests only in the winter months, and entered the steppes in the spring, during the period of lush development of the steppe vegetation. The basis of the diet of the tours was grassy vegetation. They ate grass, as well as shoots and leaves of trees and shrubs.

Riding around the tours took place in the fall, and calves, respectively, appeared only in the spring. They usually lived in small groups or alone, and only for the winter united in larger herds. There were few natural enemies of the tours, as these strong and rather aggressive animals could easily cope with any predator.

Currently, the tour is considered extinct as a result of intensive hunting for it and the active economic activity of man.

(Tour, or bison - Bos primigenius)

Tour (Latin: Bos primigenius or Bos taurus primigenius) is a cloven-hoofed animal of the genus of real bulls of the bovine family. Primitive wild bull, the progenitor of modern cattle. The closest relative is watussi.

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Origin of view and description

In ancient historical documents, a detailed description of very large horned animals, often resembling a tour bull, is often found. This is ur, aurox, reem. There are numerous descriptions and graphic images of this wild big beast. Apparently, it was this animal that was originally the ancestor of the extinct bull-tour, which lived and spread everywhere in the wild, until the middle of the century CE.

Habitats and appearance

During its existence, the tour was found almost throughout Europe, in North Africa, the Caucasus and Asia Minor. To summarize a little, we can say that the bison lived in the forest-steppes and steppes of the Eastern Hemisphere from the second half of the anthropogen.

It is believed that the last individual (she was female) died in 1627 in the forests near Yaktorov (her skull is now in the Livrustkammaren in Stockholm. In this case, she died not from the hands of hunters, but because of a disease that killed the last animals of this kind.

Bison Tour was significantly larger than modern livestock. Up to 2 meters high and weighing 1000 kg (just fantastic!). The head was set high with long and sharp horns.

The coat color of adult males is black, with a narrow white “belt” along the back. And in females and young animals - reddish-brown.

In the 1920s, the directors of two German zoos (in Berlin and Munich), the Heinz brothers and Lutz Heck, began attempts to breed extinct bison. They were sure that the species did not die out as long as their genes are present in current breeds. They achieved the result - they brought out a breed called "Updated Bison", or "Heck Bison", which was very similar to Bos primigenius, but the same dorsal stripe "belt" was pale yellow, not white.

Video: Bull tour

In the distant 16th century, the last unique instance of a wild tour was lost. There are doubles of an extinct animal on the planet - Indian and African bulls, livestock. Research, artifacts, various historical facts help to learn a lot about the tour. Initially, a large number of tours were found on the planet. Gradually, the population of these animals decreased until it completely disappeared.

This is due to several reasons:

  • with the labor activity of people
  • with interference with natural phenomena,
  • with deforestation.

At the end of the 15th century, 30 individuals of these large horned animals were recorded in Poland. Very soon there were only a few pieces left. At the beginning of the 16th century, the last instance of the wild tour, existing in its natural habitat, died. No one can understand how such a tragedy could have happened. It is noted that the last individuals died not as a result of human activity, but from a disease transmitted through genetic inheritance from ancestors.

After the era of the Ice Age, the giant bull tour was the largest ungulate animal, which is clearly confirmed by a photograph of the bull. Today, only wild European bison can fit this size. Thanks to detailed scientific research and many historical descriptions, it is possible to describe with maximum accuracy the size, appearance and general features of the behavior of extinct tours. But so far nobody has been able to reproduce the animal.

Activity, Nutrition

Tours preferred swampy and humid wooded areas. Tours could swim for short distances, but modern cattle are capable of this. Due to the ability to swim, many tours inhabited the islands.

They ate green grass, leaves and fruits from the trees (of course, those fruits that fell to the ground).

Bison were found on the island of Sicily, at a time when there was an "isthmus" in Italy. However, after the “isthmus” disappeared, the bison changed in size and became 20% smaller than its mainland relatives.

Little is known about the bison habits, even though they lived until the 17th century in Poland. The animal was a direct competitor to livestock; it was often hunted.

The bison had a very aggressive character. And the ancients considered the killing of the bison an act of incredible courage.

Appearance and features

Photo: Animal bull tour

Researchers have proven that the bull tour was a fairly large beast. He had a dense muscular body, its growth reached up to 2 meters. An adult bull could weigh more than 800 kg. It was a powerful animal, the height at the withers could reach 1.8 m. The large sharp horns crowned the proud head, up to 1 m wide, directed inward. This gave the bull a formidable awesome look. Adults were black with a white stripe on their backs. Females and young were brown-red.

There were two subspecies of wild bulls: Indian and European.

The European appearance of the bull was more massive and heavier. It was he who was the ancestor of modern cute domestic cows, giving a person many benefits. Another notable feature of the tour was the humpbacked back. This feature of appearance was inherited by the Spanish bulls.

Females of the ancient bull had a small udder, hidden in thick wool. The herbivore fed and bred just like modern domestic bulls and peace-loving cows, but was distinguished by great strength and power. This gave them the ability to successfully confront any enemy and protect their offspring.

The tour, or the ancient wild bull, had many virtues that helped him in the struggle for survival:

  • endurance,
  • the animal had thick dense coat and could tolerate severe cold winters,
  • unpretentiousness
  • ate pastures with pasture, eating any vegetation,
  • good adaptation
  • animals adapted well in any type of terrain and in any territories. In the forest zone, they felt fine among the trees and shrubs, in the steppe animals could have freedom of movement and large herds,
  • resistance to most diseases
  • the tours had well-developed immunity against all diseases and infections, which contributed to the high survival rate of offspring,
  • fertility,
  • females of the tour brought offspring annually, starting from the age of one. This gave a good increase in livestock throughout the animal habitat,
  • good fat content of milk,
  • the females had very fat, satisfying milk. This enabled the calves to grow strong, resistant to diseases and infections.

Bison in human life

Bison appear even in prehistoric cave paintings, in the wars of Julius Caesar, as well as in the national symbols of many European countries and cities: Kaunas, Romania, Moldova. A Swiss Tour was named after this animal.

Domestication of the bulls took place as early as the 6th millennium BC, perhaps most of the modern bovine breeds came from the bison (such as Bos taurus (taurine) and Bos indicus (zebu).

The original scientific name of the animal Bos primigenius was to mean a translation from German Auerochse or Urochs, which was (perhaps not quite right) interpreted as “primeval ox” (primeval ox), or “proto-ox”.

According to historians from a museum in Oslo, the bison began its development in India about 2 million years ago, then he migrated to the Middle East, and then to Asia. It reached Europe only 250,000 years ago. Previously, they were distinguished from livestock, but later these differences were rejected.

The Indian horned bull (Zebu) came from the bison that appeared in the Thar desert - this explains the zebu's resistance to drought. However, the domestic yak, guyal and Javanese cattle did not originate from the bison.

East Slavic surnames Turenin, Turishchev, Turov, Turovsky come from the Eastern variety of the tour.

Excavations in England in 1999, near the city of Peterborough, discovered a bison skull, the front of the skull was removed, but the horns were left. There is a hypothesis that the killing of the tour was entirely for the purpose of sacrifice.

In the Bible (Job 39: 9-10, Deuteronomy 33:17, Numbers 23:22 and 24: 8, Psalms 22:21, 29: 6 and 92:10, and Isaiah 34: 7) there is a mention of the animal Re'em. It was previously translated as "Unicorn", however, there is an opinion that the translation from Akkadian - Bos primigenius, as the progenitor of cattle, will be correct.

Where did the bull tour live?

Photo: Wild Bull Tour

The habitat for the tour in ancient times was the steppe zones and savannahs. Then he had to develop forests and forest-steppe, where animals could be more secure and get enough food for themselves.

Often herds of wild bulls preferred to live in swampy areas. Modern archaeologists have unearthed a large number of bones of a bull in the territory of Obolon and Poland. There, the death of the last representative of this population from an unknown genetic disease was recorded.

Varieties of bison (Bos primigenius)

As with most animals, we can distinguish several subspecies of tours:

  • Bos primigenius primigenius - European subspecies
  • Bos primigenius namadicus - Indian subspecies
  • Bos primigenius mauretanicus - North African subspecies

In historical times, the tour was found almost throughout Europe, as well as in North Africa, Asia Minor and the Caucasus. In Africa, this beast was exterminated in the third millennium BC. e., in Mesopotamia - about 600 BC. e. In Central Europe, tours have been preserved for much longer. Their disappearance here coincided with intensive deforestation in the 9th-11th centuries. In the XII century, tours were still found in the Dnieper basin. At that time, they were actively exterminated. Records of a difficult and dangerous hunt for wild bulls were left by Vladimir Monomakh.

What did the bull eat?

Photo: Bull tour animal

The ancient bull was completely herbivorous.

He ate everything that came in the way, his food was:

  • fresh grass
  • young shoots of trees
  • leaves and shrubs.

In summer, the bulls lacked greenery growing in the steppe regions. In winter, the herds had to winter in the forests to soak and not starve to death.

Due to the active deforestation, plant food became less and less, so more and more often in the winter season, tours had to go hungry. Many of them died for this reason, having failed to bear the lack of food.

Features of character and lifestyle

Wild tours led a herd lifestyle, where the head was always a female. Young bulls usually lived in a separate herd, where they could freely frolic, enjoying their youth and freedom. Old individuals preferred to retire in the depths of the forest and live completely separate from everyone, in the silence of their loneliness. Females with calves lived in the depths of the forest, sheltering offspring from prying eyes.

In Russian folk poetry, the tour is mentioned in famous epics about Dobryn and Marina, about Vasily Ignatievich and Soloviy Budimirovich. In ancient Slavic rites, a bull tour is a burdened character who comes to Christmas time. In ancient Roman folklore and other religious rites, this image of the bull of the tour was also often used as an expression of strength, power and invincibility.

Extinct wild tours left good memories and useful offspring. Modern cattle breeds feed humanity with milk and meat, being the basis for the food industry around the world.

Social structure and reproduction

The rut of the tours fell in the first autumn months. Males have always waged a fierce struggle to possess a female. Often such fights were fatal for a weaker opponent. The female always got the strongest animal.

Calving occurred in the spring months. The pregnant female, feeling the calving approaching, retired to the depths of the forest thicket, where the baby appeared. Mother carefully hid and protected her cub from potential enemies and from people for several weeks. If calving came at a later date, then the kids could not survive in the cold season and they died.

Often, male males mated with domestic cows. As a result, hybrid calves were born that did not have poor health and quickly died.

Natural Enemies of the Bull Tour

The tours were powerful and very strong animals, able to withstand any predator. Therefore, in the natural nature they had no enemies. The main enemy of the bulls was man. The constant hunting for tours did not stop for many centuries. The slain wild bull was a great trophy.

The meat of a large carcass could feed a huge number of people. The history captures many laudatory traditions about how the ancient nobility was engaged in successful bull hunting, defeated them with the help of weapons or their ingenuity, obtaining valuable fur and a lot of meat.

The tours were calm and at the same time aggressive animals. They could cope with any predator. The mass death of wild bulls was recorded by humans. Mankind has tried to save animals in a variety of ways. They tried to protect, treat, breed in home and wild conditions. They were fed in the winter, spreading hay from forest huts and lands. But all the efforts of man were in vain, the population of wild bulls became smaller and completely disappeared.

Population and species status

Photo: Extinct Bull Tour

In prehistoric times, the tour was found almost throughout Europe, Asia, North Africa, the Caucasus and India. On the African continent and in Mesopotamia, animals were exterminated before BC. In European countries, tours took much longer, until the 16th century.

The following varieties of the Eurasian tour are distinguished:

  • Bos primigenius namadicus - Indian tour,
  • Bos primigenius africanus - north african tour.

The disappearance of the population was facilitated by intensive deforestation on the European continent. This was due to the growth of progress and the active development of the woodworking industry throughout the continent.

By the 14th century, tours already lived only in sparsely populated areas and remote forests located in the territories of modern Belarus, Poland and Lithuania. Wild bulls were taken under the protection of the laws of these countries and lived as pets in protected royal lands. In the 16th century, a small herd was recorded near Warsaw, a little more than 20 goals.

Tour bull guard

Photo: Animal bull tour

Today you can meet the domesticated descendants of the tour in Spain or Latin America. They are very reminiscent of their ancestor according to external data, but the descendants' weight and height are much lower.

With a decrease in the territory of the forest, the livestock of the tour also decreased. Soon, a complete ban on the shooting of the animal was introduced. But nothing could save the population from extinction, and the bull tour was lost by mankind in the recent 16th century forever, entering the list of species that completely disappeared from the face of the earth. In modern Spain and Latin American countries, fighting bulls, relatives of tours, are specially raised on special farms. They are used for demonstration participation in show corridors, which are so popular in these territories.

By the structure of their body and general appearance, fighting bulls resemble their wild relatives, but they differ greatly in weight, which barely reaches 0.5 tons and height - less than 1.5 m, which is much lower than their ancestors. Turobyk is depicted on the modern national emblem of Moldova, on the arms of such cities as Lithuanian Kaunas, the Ukrainian city of Turk in the Lviv region.

The tour is quite often found in Slavic folklore, its name "lives" in the sayings, proverbs, epics and rites of Ukraine, Russia, Galicia that have survived to this day. In Ukrainian musical folklore, the tour is often mentioned in wedding and ritual songs, carols and folk games.

Scientists are still unsuccessfully trying to experimentally derive an analogue of the bull of the tour, which has an extra-powerful torso and tremendous physical strength. But so far no one has been able to do this. Bull tour carefully preserves its secrets, without revealing them to anyone. The wheel of history cannot be reversed. Therefore, people need to come to terms with this tragic loss of the bull’s tour and be thankful to this ancient giant for their lovely, kind and useful cows.

Hope for life.

As described above, in Germany there have already been attempts (almost successful) to restore the population of this huge horned animal. But the Germans are not the only ones in their desire to return the tour:

Scientists at the Polish Bison Recovery Fund (PFOT) want to use DNA from bones stored in museums to renew the bison and return the animal to Poland’s forests. This project received support from the Polish Ministry of the Environment. Polish scientists are confident that modern genetics and biotechnology can restore the species almost identical to the ancient one.

Scientists claim that recovery will reveal the causes of the extinction of the species and will avoid the same fate for livestock.

And also, there are enthusiasts trying to resurrect the breed by using Spanish bulls, who better than others have preserved the features of their great ancestor.

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