Lee Pitts: Let’s Think About This
April 5, 2017
If you thought living next to Ted Turner's buffalo was bad just wait until you hear this. According to a report on CNN and a story written in Newser by Arden Dier, scientists are trying to revive what was once the largest land mammal in Europe for over 250,000 years. It's called an Auroch but there's only one problem: it was last seen grazing in a Polish forest in 1627.
Supposedly, the reason the mad scientists want to bring back the extinct Auroch is because many areas in Europe are becoming barren, probably because they kicked the cattle and sheep off. The Aurochs are being called "supercows" but by looking at cave paintings of them I must say they'd never win Denver, and I doubt the American Angus Association is shaking in their shorts, fearing the competition. For the foreseeable future the initials AAA will still stand for the Angus Association and the auto club, not the American Auroch Association.
The animals the scientists want to recreate are nearly as big as elephants but without all the trunks and other baggage. It looks to me like the Aurochs would be long on hamburger, seven bone roasts and brisket and extremely light in the filet mignon department. The scientists admit that the Aurochs had tiny rumps and udders and were "not very productive in meat or milk."
So why revive them?
Because they can. Scientists are like kids with a new toy and darn it, they're going to play with it. These scientists are called "gene editors" and they're much like regular editors only without all the grammar stuff they're so uptight about. The gene editors say that an animal is never really extinct. (Tell that to the Dodo bird.) They should also tell it to the bureaucrats who are trying to save hairy-nosed wombats, Mexican walking fish, bird eating spiders and leaping lesbian lizards. (Really).
As I understand it, as long as the "ancient DNA" that once made up the Auroch is still present in a living population scientists can now go back, capture those genes and put back together the animal that once was. Theoretically, they could go back and recreate your rich great grandfather, although I don't know why considering he may want your ranch back. Auroch genes have been found in breeds of cattle including Dexters, Kerrys, Welsh Blacks, and White Parks, which sound more like thuggish Irish street gangs than they do cattle.
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Another reason the scientists want to bring back the Aurochs is fertility. Not the Aurochs' fertility, mind you, their wife's, mistress' or girlfriend's! You see, hundreds of thousands years ago very brave men would try to kill an Auroch and cut off the patch of hair on its forehead, then they'd make a belt out of it and give it to their significant other in order to make her more fertile. This makes little sense to me. On the one hand it will make her more fertile but it will also keep her pants up.
Alas, the effort to bring back the Aurochs suffered a setback in 2015 when a British Auroch farmer had to kill several of his animals before they killed him. It seems these 3,000 pound beasts don't like humans and are "impossible" to domesticate. The Romans used to entertain themselves by putting them in big arenas with several Roman cowboys and see who came out alive. Researchers have found evidence of violent Auroch fights in Polish forests from 400 years ago. We're not talking here about some minor domestic dispute!
The only advantage I can see to running Aurochs versus cattle is that Aurochs were able to fight off marauding packs of wolves which, if the feds don't slow down, will become much more important. The disadvantages to running Aurochs would be you'll need a D9 to pull an Auroch calf and you'll also need tougher dogs, bigger squeeze chutes, more muscular wives, stronger rope and more reliable ropers. When you catch the horns of an Auroch and dally up you're going to want to be sure your partner is gonna scoop up the heels or you're going to need to be on one very fast horse when the elephant-sized Auroch runs up the rope back at you.
If the gene editors insist on bringing back the Aurochs they need to be rebuilding Secretariat at the same time.