Skip to main content

Heck Cattle

Heck Cattle
Way back we talked about the Aurochs, a now-extinct species of Cattle that once lived throughout Europe.  The Heck Cattle are an attempt to recreate the massive Aurochs by back breeding the animals until they resemble their ancestral form.

This project isn't recent... it actually started back in the 1920s in Germany. Two brothers, Heinz and Lutz Heck, developed programs in Munich and Berlin respectively. Interestingly, these programs were, in part, supported by Nazi leader Hermann Göring.

The two brothers used different breeds in their methodology-- Heniz used Friseians, Hungarian Greys, Scottish Highlands, and a handful of other breeds, while Lutz focused more on French and Spanish Fighting Cattle. The results were actually very similar, producing calves in only a few generations that looked like the images of Aurochs from old cave paintings and representations. However, after WWII the Berlin line was lost.

There has always been controversy over the Heck Cattle project, and not only because of its benefactor. Other scientists have criticized the brothers' messy methodology, and their quick proclamation of results. There is also the fact that many other cattle breeds resemble the Aurochs even better than the Heck Cattle do. There is even a newer project, the TaurOs Programme, which is worker to create a better Aurochs.

There are still Heck Cattle today, though most remain in Europe. Of the estimated 2,000 of them, many live in nature preserves. This is because of the Heck's claims that these animals were resurrected wild animal, and thus should be left in nature as the Aurochs were.

Status : Domesticated
Location : Originated in Germany
Size : Height up to 4.5ft (1.4m), Weight up to 1,300lbs (600kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Artiodactyla
Family : Bovidae -- Genus : Bos -- Species : B. primigenius


Popular posts from this blog

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a


For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!


The Binturong ( Arctictis binturong ) also has an equally awesome alternate common name, the Bearcat! However, it really isn't much of a bear OR a cat. While it is true that it is part of the Feliforma suborder, it is not a member of family Felidae. Binturongs are a part of their own family, Viverridae, which is shared with Civets, Linsangs, and Genets. There are six subspecies of Binturong, all of which have slight differences based upon location and habitat. Binturongs range in body size from 60-100cm in length, (not including their tail which has roughly the same length) and weigh between 20 and 30lbs. Binturongs are nocturnal animals native to the rain forests of South East Asia. The species range spans through several countries including China, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. They are tree dwelling mammals, and have fully prehensile tails that basically double their body length and can be used to cling to the trees or to grasp food. Binturongs are phe