Some authorities date the domestication of cattle as early as 10,000 years ago, and
others almost half that amount of time. Regardless of the time frame it is generally
accepted that the domestication of cattle followed sheep, goats, pigs and dogs.
Modern domestic cattle evolved from a single early ancestor, the aurochs. In addition
to prehistoric painting that help us identify the appearance of the auroch the species
actually survived until relatively modern times. It is believed the last surviving
member of the species was killed by a poacher in 1627 on a hunting reserve near Warsaw,
Early cattle served a triple-purpose. They provided meat, milk and labor to their
owners. Eventually their draft purposes were largely replaced by horses and much later
by machinery so they were selected more for single or in some cases dual purposes.
OSU is proud to offer this website with information about breeds, as well as the OSU Beef Extension
website that has a variety of information and resources for beef cattle producers.