Standing nearly as tall as an elephant, the aurochs grazed for 250,000 years until its extinction in 1627. But its story may not end there: Scientists are close to resurrecting the "supercow," once the largest land mammal in Europe, reports CNN.
In search of herbivores to maintain land areas at risk of becoming barren, geneticists began breeding aurochs descendants with similar cattle breeds in 2008 and found they could "produce animals far closer to the aurochs than we would have expected," says Ronald Goderie of the Tauros Project. Experts predicted a "near 100% substitute" in seven generations, around 2025.
But fourth-generation beasts have already been introduced in Croatia, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, and Romania, with "very promising" results.
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