Bos

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B. acutifrons
B. frontalis
B. gaurus
B. grunniens
B. indicus
B. javanicus
B. palaesondaicus
B. planifrons
B. primigenius
B. sauveli
B. taurus

Bos is the genus of wild and domestic cattle. Bos can be divided into four subgenera: Bos, Bibos, Novibos, and Poephagus, but these divisions are controversial. The genus has five extant species. However, this may rise to seven if the domesticated varieties are counted as separate species, and nine if the closely related genus Bison is also included.[1] Modern species of cattle are believed to have originated from the extinct aurochs.

Contents

Anatomy and morphology

Most species are grazers, with long tongues to twist the plant material they favor and large teeth to break up the plant material they ingest. Many species are ruminant, having a four-chambered stomach that allows them to break down the tough plant material they consume.

Range and distribution

There are about 1.3 billion domestic cattle alive today, making them one of the world's most numerous mammals. Members of this genus are currently found in Africa, Asia, eastern and western Europe and parts of North America. Their habitats vary greatly depending on the particular species; they can be found in prairies, rain forests, wetlands, savannas and temperate forests.

Ecology, behavior and life history

Most Bos species have a lifespan of 18–25 years in the wild, with up to 36 being recorded in captivity. They have a 9-11 month gestation, depending on the species and birth one, or rarely two young in the spring.

Most species travel in herds ranging in size from 10 members into the hundreds. Within most herds, there is one bull (male) for all the cows (female). Dominance is important in the herds; calves will usually inherit their mother's spot in the hierarchy.

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