All of this was news to me as of Saturday, when I read about the aurochs for the first time. For the life of me, I can’t remember why or how I learned about these animals, but I did. Then, just on Sunday, Spencer emailed me a link to a Cabinet article on the extinction of the aurochs and the efforts of some German, World War II-era zoologists, the Brothers Heck, to revive the species. It’s fascinating, and I strongly suggest you give it a read.
First, the Hecks believed that domestication ruined animals by inducing neoteny (the retention of juvenile traits in adults), and the Cabinet article evidences this believe with some rather primitive sketches of animals in their natural forms and then their suckier, mushier, tamer forms. It kind of looks like an adult drew some animals and then a child who couldn’t follow directions attempted to re-create the drawings.
And secondly, the mouflon. The article mentions this animal, and because its name sounds like something delicious, I looked it up. It’s a sheep subspecies, and it’s quite regal.