Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Predecessor of Cows, The Aurochs, Were Still Living In The Netherlands Around AD 600

Date:
December 15, 2008
Source:
University of Groningen
Summary:
Archaeological researchers have discovered that the aurochs, the predecessor of our present-day cow, lived in the Netherlands for longer than originally assumed. Remains of bones recently retrieved from a horn core found in Holwerd (Friesland, Netherlands), show that the aurochs became extinct in around AD 600 and not in the fourth century.

Archaeological researchers at the University of Groningen have discovered that the aurochs, the predecessor of our present-day cow, lived in the Netherlands for longer than originally assumed. Remains of bones recently retrieved from a horn core found in Holwerd (Friesland, Netherlands), show that the aurochs became extinct in around AD 600 and not in the fourth century.

The last aurochs died in Poland in 1627. In January 2008, the bony core horn was unearthed in a mound near Holwerd by amateur-archaeologist Lourens Olivier from Ternaard. The Groningen Institute for Archaeology at the University of Groningen has established that it came from the left horn of an aurochs bull, and C14 dating reveals that the horn dates back to between AD 555 and 650.

The horn core is the bony core of the horn of a bovine animal. While the aurochs was still alive, the horn core would have been covered by a sheath of horn. This horn sheath has since decomposed in the soil. The largest curve in the horn core found in Holwerd measures 59 cm. The whole horn, including the horn sheath, must have been at least 70 cm long.

The aurochs was much larger than the common cows we know today, with aurochs bulls measuring between 160 and 180 cm at the withers, and aurochs cows between 140 and 150 cm. The cattle bred on the Frisian mounds around AD 600 measured between 90 and 120 cm and their horn cores were 25 cm long at the most.

Hunters and the first Dutch farmers hunted the aurochs. The species eventually became extinct in the Netherlands, not only because it was hunted, but also because more and more land was being used for agriculture and the human population was increasing.

Aurochs bones dating back to Roman times have previously been found at various sites in the Dutch river regions. They have also been unearthed in the terps and mounds of Friesland and Groningen. An almost complete skeleton of an aurochs was found in a terp in Britsum (Friesland), 15 km from Holwerd. It dates back to between AD 257 and 421. It was long thought that this was the most recent evidence of the aurochs that would be found, and that the aurochs had therefore become extinct in the Netherlands sometime in the fourth century AD. However, the horn core from Holwerd shows that the aurochs must have been grazing the Frisian meadows for at least another 150 to 250 years.

The find is reported in the newsletter ‘Van Warden en Terpen’ (From Mounds and Terps), published on 4 December 2008 by the Terp Research Association.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Groningen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Groningen. "Predecessor of Cows, The Aurochs, Were Still Living In The Netherlands Around AD 600." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081212081544.htm>.
University of Groningen. (2008, December 15). Predecessor of Cows, The Aurochs, Were Still Living In The Netherlands Around AD 600. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081212081544.htm
University of Groningen. "Predecessor of Cows, The Aurochs, Were Still Living In The Netherlands Around AD 600." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081212081544.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins