Boffins have analysed the DNA of ancient giant European wild cattle that died out almost 400 years ago.
Aurochs were shaggy, giant cows and were once considered so important that they had a letter of the Norse alphabet named after them.
However, they were tricky beasts to raise in captivity and in the end farmers gave up and used more docile Asian cattle instead. They died out completely.
Dr Ceiridwen Edwards has worked thet mitochondrial genome sequence from aurochs (Bos primigenius) from bone found in a cave in Derbyshire.The research has been published in scientific journal PloS ONE.
Dr Edwards said a project was now underway to sequence and assemble a complete aurochs nuclear genome by the end of the year.
There have been attempts to bring the Aurochs back before Roman general Julius Caesar was said to have been impressed by the size of aurochs and Adolf Hitler wanted to recreate the cattle through selective breeding as a symbol of the Third Reich’s belief in racial superiority. Although quite how the Auroch could be a good candidate for this symbol when it had died out because it was difficult to domesticate fitted into Hitler’s ideas of superiority it is not clear