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Aurochs Skull 1972-5068
The aurochs, or the wild ox (Bos primigenius), extinct since 1627, was once widespread throughout Europe, northern Africa, and southern Asia, where Palaeolithic rock and cave paintings indicate that it was important to humans as prey and perhaps also in rituals. Cattle were domesticated from aurochsen about 10 000 years ago and, as for most other domestic animal species, domestication was probably limited to a few regions including the Near East (Bos taurus) and Asia (Bos indicus) .
The Museum modern mammal collections have three fairly complete skulls of this species now available as surface scans for download for all those interested in domestication, bovids and the evolutionary history of cattle.
NHMUK ARC 1972.5068 corresponds to the skull of an adult Bos primigenius complete with horn cores and cheek teeth. This specimen was collected from near Atholl, Perthshire, Scotland and was cited and figured by Richard Owen in 1846, p.498, fig 208, and fig. 210.
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