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Cattle

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Cattle
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Scientific Classification
Binomial

Bos taurus

Cattle is the common term for the Genus Bos, a member of Family Bovidae. Cattle are domesticated herbivorous mammals that give us many things such as meat, milk, leather, glue, gelatin, and other commercial items. Modern cattle are now classified into two different species: B. Taurus, and B. indicus. B. Taurus originated in Europe and most modern breeds are put into this group. B. indicus originated in India.

Cattle belong to the Suborder Ruminantia. They have four-compartmented stomachs and no upper incisors. Suborder Ruminantia is a member of Order Artiodactyla, even-toed hoofed mammals. They have paired, hollow, unbranched horns like others of Family Bovidae. [1]

Contents

History

Cattle occupy a unique role in human history. Some consider them the oldest form of wealth. Their ability to provide meat, dairy and draft while reproducing themselves and eating nothing but grass has furthered human interests dramatically through the millennia.

The first instance of Cattle being domesticated and used for human purposes is written in Genesis 4:20.

And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. Genesis 4:20

This verse indicates that Jabal and his family were the first tent-dwellers and Cattle ranchers.

Anatomy

They are large and sturdy.

Cattle are large, sturdy mammals. Their weight ranges from 320 pounds to 3000 pounds, and their height ranges from 49 inches to 52 inches. Their body is covered with short hair and their hair color varies through black, white, brown, and reddish brown. Cattle have short necks and there are dewlaps hanging below the chin. Their two horns are hollow and their tail is long and tufted. Cattle don’t have upper incisors, but they have a dental pad, which is a thick layer. The LORD designed their jaws for the circular grinding motion used to crush tough vegetation. [2]

Cattle have a digestive system that allows them to utilize indigestible foods by regurgitating and chewing the food again and again as cud. Then they re-swallow the food which are further digested by special microorganisms that live in the rumen, the first stomach. These special microbes can break down cellulose and other carbohydrates into volatile fatty acids that cattle use as their primary energy source. They are also able to synthesize amino acids from non-protein nitrogenous sources like urea or ammonia. This function allows cattle to eat grasses and other vegetation. [3]

Reproduction

Cattle are social animals so they live in herds. Each herd has a leader, a dominant male who is the sole male to mate with the rest of the females. There are about 20~30 members in each herd. Though more calves are born in spring season, mating may actually occur year round. The pregnant period is about six months. Most 1 year old females can reproduce until they become 12 years old. Young calves need their mother to nurse them for approximately six months until they become independent. [4]

Ecology

They are in herd and feed on grasses.

Cattle are common and you can find them throughout the world. They are born and raised on pasturage. They do need adequate areas for grazing.

A dominance hierarchy structures herds. Calves inherit their mother’s status in the hierarchy. Females often protect their calves and chase away any threats. Dominant males maintain their status until defeated by another younger male in a challenge.

Cattle feed on grasses, stems, and other plant materials. A normal cow can eat approximately 150 pounds of grass in an 8 hour day. They wind their tongue around grasses and cut them by their lower teeth. Then they ruminate to digest well. The process of digestion requires about 70~100 hours. This is one of the slowest passage rates of all animals. [5]

Beef

Click to watch large picture.

Beef, meat from cattle, is one of the principal meats used in the whole world except in India and other Hindu areas.

First, beef is divided into prime cuts. The following are the American prime cuts.

Upper Half – Chuck, Rib, Short Loin, Sirloin, Round.

  • Chuck is one of the most usual sources for hamburger patties.

Lower Half – Brisket, Shank, Plate, Flank.

  • Shank is the primary source for stews and soups, but is not customarily served another way, owing to its toughness.

[6]

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