The aurochs (pronounced ow roks) is an extinct wild ox that once roamed the forests of Europe.

This enormous, black-colored animal from which our domestic cattle are descended often measured six feet high at the shoulders and had long, forward-curving horns.


Prehistoric men of Europe hunted and ate this giant ox,.

Cave paintings from thousands of years ago record the aurochs hunt.  Later, man learned to keep herds of cattle from meat and milk and herdsmen quickly became more important than hunters.

The last of the true aurochs died in 1627.  But the aurochs left behind such present-day breeds of cattle as the Holstein, Shorthorn and Aberdeen Angus.

Since the extinction of the true aurochs, the name “aurochs” has sometimes been wrongly applied to the only other wild ox of Europe, the European bison, or wisent (a cousin to the American bison), which survived.  Another name for the aurochs is “urus”.  – Dick Rogers