Zebu (Bos primigenius indicus) - Wiki
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[Photo] Zebu from USDA Agricultural Research Service Image Gallery (http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/), photo by Scott Bauer
Zebus (Bos primigenius indicus), sometimes known as 'humped cattle', are better-adapted to tropical environments than other domestic cattle. Their scientific name was originally Bos indicus, but this name is now deemed invalid by ITIS, who classify the zebu under Bos taurus along with all other domestic cattle, and their aurochs ancestors, domesticated in India about 10,000 years ago. The Aurochs subspecies Bos primigenius namadicus or even the gaur may have contributed to the development of the zebus. There are some 75 known breeds, split about evenly between African breeds and South Asian ones. The major Zebu cattle breeds of the world include Kanganad Kangeyam bull, Gir, Guzerat, Kankrej, Indo-Brazilian, Brahman, Nelore, Ongole, Sahiwal, Afrikaner, Red Sindhi, Butana, Kenana, Boran, Baggara, Red Fulani, Tharparker, Ankole-Watusi, Chinese Southern Yellow and Philippine Native.
Zebu have humps, large dewlaps and droopy ears. They have more sweat glands than European cattle (Bos taurus). They handle hot, humid climates well and have pest resistances not seen in European cattle.
Because they were better adapted to hot environments, zebus were imported to Africa for hundreds of years and interbred with native cattle there. Genetic analysis of African cattle has found higher concentrations of zebu genes all along the east coast of Africa, and especially pure cattle on the island of Madagascar, implying that the method of dispersal was cattle transported by ship. Partial resistance to rinderpest led to another increase in the frequency of zebus in Africa.
Zebu were imported into Brazil in the early twentieth century and crossbred to Charolais cattle, a European breed. The resulting breed, which consists of 5/8 Charolais and 3/8 Zebu is called the Chanchim. It has a better meat quality than the zebu as well as better heat resistance than European cattle. The zebu breeds used were primarily Indo-Brazilian with some Nelore and Guzerat.
Numerous breeds are complex mixtures of the zebu and other Bos taurus varieties, and some also have yak, gaur or banteng genetics. While zebu are the common cattle in much of Asia, Japanese, Korean and Mongolian cattle are closer related to the European type.
Bulls from the Brahman breed of zebu are often used in for bullriding in rodeo.
In 1999, researchers at Texas A&M University successfully cloned a zebu bull.
Zebu were immortalized in the Silly Songs with Larry tune "The Song Of The Ceb??". At one point in the song, Larry says "...I think that's the bull's cousin. He's a ceb??!" This is fairly accurate, as European bulls/cows and zebu are members of the same species.
The Zebu is mentioned in a 1991 episode of The Simpsons, "Blood Feud," when Lisa teaches Maggie about more obscure animals, wanting to give Maggie "all the advantages that [she] didn't have." Lisa describes it as "an ox, only it has a hump and a dewlap."
ZEBU! Is also the name of a rock band based out of Amherst, Mass. Formed in 2004, at Hampshire College they have recorded two albums, Mindsticker and Hookers in Sweatpants.
In August 2007, a study by ITV television show Undercover Mothers found that a third of Hungry Horse and Wetherspoon pubs in the UK served steaks which were composed partly of Zebu meat, which is "notorious for its tough and poor eating quality."
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