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Description of Cattle

´╗┐Cattle, buffalo, and bison belong to the Bovidae family of oxenlike animals. Cattle include both the humpless Bos taurus (comprising the socalled European breeds) and the humped Bos indicus (known as Zebu cattle); both are of the same species in that they are fully interfertile. Buffalo, or Asiatic or water buffalo, include the river buffalo and swamp buffalo. Bison come in three varieties (interfertile and hence of the same species), namely the European wood bison, the American plains bison, and the American wood bison; while the latter two are commonly referred to as buffalo, they are actually more closely related to cattle than to the Asiatic buffalo. Cattle, Asiatic buffalo, and bison constitute three of the five genera in this family, the other two being the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) and the yak (Poephagus grunniens), although the latter is sometimes classified in the same genus as cattle (Bos). All are herbivores, dependent solely on plant material for their nutrition. Furthermore, they are ruminants, having the ability to rapidly ingest their food and to subsequently regurgitate and rechew it. The first of their four stomach compartments, the rumen, is used for microbial fermentation of plant material, some of which would not otherwise be digestible. All the animals are fourfooted and have split hooves. Both male and female have horns, except for those with a genetic variation leading to polled (hornless) animals. They have a keen sense of smell, and good sight and hearing. They are herd animals and generally produce a single offspring annually; when nutritionally or metabolically stressed, they may calve every other year. They usually give birth in the spring, except for intensively managed cattle, which can do so year-round. Cattle evolved on the plains and forests of Europe and Asia. Bos taurus was first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent 6000 b.c.e. and Bos indicus independently in south Asia, probably India, about one thousand years later. They were likely first domesticated for religious purposes, and they are still considered sacred in India. They subsequently were developed for work (such as pulling carts and riding), milk, and meat. Their hides were used for shelter and clothing. In addition, their manure is used for fertilizer and, when dried, for fuel. Currently, they are the most numerous livestock species in the world, numbering 1.3 billion, and are found in most areas of the world, except Antarctica. Depending on the breed and nutrition, mature males weigh between 1,000 and 3,000 pounds (450 to 1,350 kilograms).

Thanks for description - Animal life club

Photo Gallery of Cattle