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The Morphological Variability of the European Aurochs (Bos primigenius) from the Middle Pleistocene to its Extinction

A zooarchaeological study

Elizabeth Wright
Publication Year:
210pp. Illustrated throughout in black and white: 45 tables, 110 figures
BAR number:


The aurochs (Bos primigenius) is generally agreed to be the wild ancestor of domestic cattle (Bos taurus) and therefore an in-depth knowledge of this animal is key to research exploring human-cattle interactions, and the origins and spread of cattle domestication. Domestic cattle are smaller than their wild ancestors, but there is also a degree of overlap between the two species, which means that distinguishing them can be problematic. However, previous analyses of aurochs morphology have generally been patchy, and do not provide a picture of aurochs variation across Europe according to environment, climate and geography. As a consequence, zooarchaeologists have had limited resources to assist in identifying remains from their study area. This book provides the widest ranging review of aurochs archaeological material in Europe to date, bringing together bone and tooth biometrical information from a number of European geographical areas and time periods. A number of patterns of body size and shape variation have been identified and discussed.

Elizabeth Wright is currently a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Sheffield (UK). She completed her PhD on the morphological variability of the European aurochs in 2014, and this volume is one of her publications on this topic.?

Table of Contents (S2815_9781407314839_ToC.pdf, 96 Kb) [Download]