The aurochs’ scientific name is Bos primigenius, and unlike the cave bear, steppe bison, and Megaloceros, this ancient bovine survived up until just a few hundred years ago. Sadly habitat loss, disease carried by domestic cattle, and overhunting led to its demise in the early 1600s, so it only survives as bones and a few contemporary illustrations. Attempts to recreate the aurochs have led to cattle that may phenotypically resemble the aurochs, but are genetically domestic cattle.

My aurochs started out as Breyer’s Spanish fighting bull; this breed, also known as the lidia, is likely the one that most closely resembles its wild cousin. I moved and resculpted the tail, resculpted the genitalia to a more “wild” type, and—most importantly—gave the model entirely new horns. Aurochs horns have what’s called a primigenius spiral, a particular curve that is found in many wild bovines but much less often in domestic cattle; they are also larger than in their domestic counterparts. I painted him using multiple shades of black created by mixing different ratios of primary colors, so that he has some subtle variation rather than having a solid coat. He also has primitive markings thought to be associated with aurochs, including the white ring around the mouth, and a pale dorsal stripe. His sides feature hand-painted reproductions of aurochs paintings from the caves at Chauvet (left) and Lascaux (right). His tail has been haired, and he has a hair forelock. An especial thanks to the Breeding Back blog for some excellent research and resources on likely phenotypical details of this extinct species.

Measurements: 15″ x 6 1/2″ x 3″

Artist & Author Lupa

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