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Artificial Selection- Selective Breeding Assignment: Cows Comparison between Bos Primigenius (Aurochs) and Bos Taurus (Cows)

The domesticated modern-day cow originated from the wild aurochs that first began living on earth approximately 2 million years ago. Since the time when the aurochs population was plentiful until present, evolution occurred and the species developed new adaptations that increased their survival. The modern- day cows have a very different physical appearance than their original ancestor. The extinct species is much larger than present-day domesticated cows; aurochs are approximately 7 feet in height at the shoulders and the domesticated cows are on average of 5 to 6 feet. The outer layer of the domesticated cows is also unlike the aurochs. The male aurochs had a brown- black coat with a small light eel stripe down their spine whereas the females and calves were reddish in colour. Unlike their original ancestors, there are more variations in the domesticated cows; for example, their coat colour could be reddish, brown-black, white, brown, etc. Furthermore, in the past, aurochs had horns that were pointed forward and curved inward and they were used for protection. However, today those horns are hollow vestigial structures on top of the cows heads. Due to evolution, many of the physical features of the species have changed to adapt to the environment. A major difference in the original ancestor and the domesticated cow is their habitat. The wild aurochs lived in Europe near swamps and swamp forests. They also lived in the dry forests and open valleys. Today, it is very rare to see a wild cow; domesticated cows live on farms, where there are enclosed grasslands for the cows to graze. The cows live in enclosed grasslands due to the fact that they are required to satisfy human needs, such as milk, and meat. On the other hand, the original ancestors were free and were allowed to migrate from one area to another. The lives of the species also changed with evolution and their adaptations. By examining the relationship between the domesticated cow and the original ancestor, the aurochs, scientists are able to see their similarities and differences. These similarities and differences provide evidence of the evolution of cows in the environment over the many years.

Description of Traits Humans have artificially selected traits in domesticated cows for many years to satisfy human needs. Different variations of cows are bred to produce specific elements, such as milk, meat, and leather. Cows are one of the very few species that are able to manufacture milk within their bodies; as a result, the main purpose of domesticating cows is milk production in their udders. Humans require daily servings of dairy products in order to live healthy, and milk contains proteins, lactose, and various vitamins and minerals. Farmers purposely breed two cows with large udders so that the offsprings will also inherit the trait. With a large udder, the cows have an increase the organisms milk yield; therefore the organism will be able to produce more milk for humans. Cows with large udders are also beneficial to farmers, because if their animals are able to produce a vast quantity of a product, farmers are able to sell more to their customers like manufacturers. The meat of cows is also a high demand of humans since there are a variety of meat selections found in the organism and it is also a high source of protein. Humans breed cows to improve the quality of meat and production. In order to improve the meat of the cows, humans look at the DNA of the cows to determine the phenotypes of the offsprings if the two cows were to mate. If humans wanted a certain characteristic of the meat, such as tenderness, they would look to see if the trait will be inherited by the offspring. As a result, humans are able to manipulate the traits of the offspring so that it would be beneficial to them. After cows have been slaughtered due absence of milk production and meat, their remains, specifically the skin, are used to create leather. Consequently, humans not only have to artificially breed cows for milk and meat, they also have to look at the cowhide. The nutrients and the colour of the cow directly affects the cowhide used for leather. Humans breed large healthy cows and also look at their DNA to determine if the cows skin is suitable to be used to produce leather after slaughtering. Some cows may suffer from skin diseases or mutations affecting skin in the DNA which omits them from being used to create leather; by artificially selecting, humans try to avoid it.