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Zebu (Bos indicus)

Posted on Jul 8, 2007 by in Ungulates | 1 comment

Bos indicus
Number 0035

The zebu is a domestic cow from Asia and Africa; zebus are also known as Brahmas. I was reminded of the zebu’s existence this week when Andy Merriell, my employer, showed me a wonderful book called The 100 Best Animals. Zebus have floppy dewlaps and shoulder humps and curved horns and they’re amazingly tolerant of heat.

It seems there’s a lot of disagreement as to whether the zebu is a species—Bos indicus—or a subspecies of Bos taurus or Bos primigenius. And it further seems that B. primigenius is either another name or a subspecies of B. taurus. All I know right now is what Mammal Species of the World tells me. I am getting interested in the taxonomy and nomenclature, though, and I imagine I’ll be something of an expert by the time I’m finished with this project.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Jennifer–thanks for the beautiful drawing of a very large zebu. I raise miniature zebu ( and was googling zebu tonite when I came across your blog. Bos primigenius is the ancient aurochs that all cattle came from–it’s what’s pictured in the cave paintings. How long have you been in ALB? We are artists in Dallas. My husband just got a job at the Zoo as an Okapi-keeper–Dottie Love ps–my husband is Pinky Diablo ( Be our friend!

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