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**Physical Characteristics and Biology:**
– Cattle are large artiodactyl mammals with cloven hooves.
– They can have unbranched horns that are not shed annually and vary in color.
– Cattle are ruminants with a specialized digestive system involving regurgitation and re-chewing of food.
– The rumen microbiome is dominated by bacteria, fungi, and protozoa.
– Cattle have one large stomach with four compartments.

**Reproduction and Behavior:**
– The gestation period for cows is around nine months.
– Artificial insemination is commonly used in cattle breeding.
– Cows seek secluded areas for calving, and calves stay with their mothers until weaning.
– Cattle live in a dominance hierarchy and display cognitive abilities like memorization and discrimination learning.
– Grazing behavior, temperament traits, and emotional responses impact cattle productivity and health.

**Genetics and Evolution:**
– Cattle have approximately 22,000 genes, with 80% shared with humans.
– The bovine genome mapping helps track breed differences and heritability of behavioral traits.
– Cattle were domesticated around 10,500 years ago from wild aurochs, leading to taurine and indicine lines.
– Modern taurine cattle have genetic contributions from various regions, and African taurine cattle may have a separate origin.
– Taxonomically, cattle are classified under Bos taurus, with subspecies like aurochs, zebu, and taurine cattle.

**Husbandry Practices and Population:**
– Husbandry practices involve feeding in feedlots, routine medical operations, and selective breeding for desired traits.
– Cattle populations are significant, with the US having nearly 70 million cattle in the early 1930s.
India, Brazil, and China have large cattle populations, contributing to the 942.6 million worldwide.
– Husbandry methods vary, with practices like ear tagging, dehorning, and vaccinations being common.

**Economic Importance and Meat Production:**
– Cattle are kept for meat, milk, leather, and labor, contributing significantly to the world’s meat production.
– Beef is the third most consumed meat globally, with approximately 300 million cattle slaughtered annually.
– World cattle meat production in 2021 was 72.3 million tons, and beef production has increased substantially over the past 60 years.
– Popular beef breeds like Hereford and Aberdeen Angus play a significant role in beef production worldwide.

Cattle (Wikipedia)

Cattle (Bos taurus) are large, domesticated, bovid ungulates widely kept as livestock. They are prominent modern members of the subfamily Bovinae and the most widespread species of the genus Bos. Mature female cattle are called cows and mature male cattle are bulls. Young female cattle are called heifers, young male cattle are oxen or bullocks, and castrated male cattle are known as steers.

A brown Swiss Fleckvieh cow wearing a cowbell
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Bovinae
Genus: Bos
B. taurus
Binomial name
Bos taurus
Bovine distribution
  • Bos primigenius taurus
  • Bos longifrons

Cattle are commonly raised for meat, for dairy products, and for leather. As draft animals, they pull carts and farm implements. In India, cattle are sacred animals within Hinduism, and may not be killed. Small breeds such as the miniature Zebu are kept as pets.

Taurine cattle are widely distributed across Europe and temperate areas of Asia, the Americas, and Australia. Zebus are found mainly in India and tropical areas of Asia, America, and Australia. Sanga cattle are found primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. These types, sometimes classified as separate species or subspecies, are further divided into over 1,000 recognized breeds.

Around 10,500 years ago, taurine cattle were domesticated from wild aurochs progenitors in central Anatolia, the Levant and Western Iran. A separate domestication event occurred in the Indian subcontinent, which gave rise to zebu. There were over 940 million cattle in the world by 2022. Cattle are responsible for around 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. They were one of the first domesticated animals to have a fully-mapped genome.

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