lunes, 11 de abril de 2016

Scientists seek to resurrect the aurochs, the extinct beast that inspired cave paintings


An artist works on true-to-life replica of renowned Lascaux's Stone Age cave paintings on Feb. 29, at the future international cave arts museum, Lascaux IV, in Montignac, France. (Mehdi Fedouach/AFP/Getty Images)

A tall, heavy beast with long, forward-curving horns faced down a smaller bull. Its head was held high as if in challenge. The smaller animal seemed to recoil in submission. Even the cave lion, the largest of predators, looked unlikely to challenge the dominant bull. Behind them a herd of giant deer ran from unseen danger.

This scene was depicted in a painting on a cavern wall at Lascaux, France, 17,000 years ago. Megaloceros, the giant deer in the background, are extinct. The cave lion is extinct. The bulls — a species called aurochs (pronounced “aur-ox”) — have disappeared. Their genes, however, are still present in modern cattle, and scientists have been trying to bring them back to life.

The Taurus Program, a partnership of ecologists, geneticists, historians and cattle breeders backed by Stichting Taurus, a Dutch nonprofit, is seeking to re-create the aurochs by crossbreeding modern cattle in a process known as back breeding. Laboratory-based genetic engineering is not required. [...] The Washington Post


Link 2: Proyecto para resucitar al uro: antiguo toro salvaje del arte rupestre
Un equipo de investigadores está buscando resucitar al uro, antigua especie de toro salvaje que desapareció en la primera mitad del siglo XVII. Se trata de la tentativa más reciente de devolver a la vida a este animal: los científicos nazis ya lo intentaron en el pasado.

Según el Washington Post, un grupo de científicos, historiadores y ganaderos está buscando resucitar esta especie de reses salvajes emparentada con el ganado bovino actual.

El último de los uros murió en 1627 en Polonia. Eran altos y pesados, y tenían cuernos muy largos curvados hacia delante. Era un animal peligroso, incluso para el león de las cavernas, su predador de mayor tamaño. Julio César sentía admiración por ellos, y los describió en su Guerra de las Galias como “algo menores que un elefante en tamaño.”...