Domesticated cows (Bos taurus) belong to the family Bovidae, which includes other cloven-hoofed animals such as sheep, goat, bison, antelopes and water buffaloes. Cattle are mostly raised for milk, meat and leather. Cows are also used as draft animals (animals that pull carts or plough agricultural fields). Besides milk, dung is another important product obtained from cattle – and it is a crucial ingredient for creating manure. Interestingly, smaller breeds of cattle are often kept as pets. All modern domesticated cattle are descendants of wild aurochs, which are very large, extinct species of wild cattle that inhabited Europe, Asian and North Artica. Aurochs were one of the largest herbivores to roam the earth, often averaging heights of 180 cms at the shoulders (bulls). Interestingly, archaeological evidence showed that this species was domesticated between 8,000-10,000 years ago on the Indian subcontinent. The last recorded specimen died in Jaktorow Forest, Polland, in 1627.
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