Cattle colloquially cows are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos taurus. Cattle are commonly raised as livestock for meat (beef and veal), as dairy animals for milk and other dairy products, and as draft animals (oxen or bullocks that pull carts, plows and other implements).
Other products include leather and products include leather and dung for manure or fuel. In some regions, such as parts of India, cattle have significant religious meaning. Around 10,500 years ago, cattle were domesticated from as few as 80 progenitors in southeast Turkey.According to an estimate from 2011, there are 1.4 billion cattle in the world.
In 2009, cattle became one of the first livestock animals to have a fully mapped genome.Some consider cattle the oldest form of wealth, and cattle raiding consequently one of the earliest forms of theft.
Cattle were originally identified as three separate species: Bos taurus, the European or taurine" cattle (including similar types from Africa and Asia); Bos indicus, the zebu; and the extinct Bos primigenius, the aurochs. The aurochs is ancestral to both zebu and taurine cattle.These have been reclassified as one species, Bos taurus, with three subspecies: Bos taurus primigenius, Bos taurus indicus, and Bos taurus. Complicating the matter is the ability of cattle to interbreed with other closely related species.
Hybrid individuals and even breeds exist, not only between taurine cattle and zebu (such as the sanga cattle, Bos taurus africanus), but also between one or both of these and some other members of the genus Bos - yaks (the dzo or yattle), banteng, and gaur. Hybrids such as the beefalo breed can even oCcur between taurine cattle and either species of bison, leading some authors to consider them part of the genus Bos, as well.
The hybrid origin of some types may not be obvious - for example, genetic testing of the Dwarf Lulu breed, the only taurine-type cattle in Nepal, found them to be a mix of taurine cattle, zebu, and yak.However, cattle cannot be successfully hybridized with more distantly related bovines such as water buffalo or African buffalo.
The aurochs originally ranged throughout Europe, North Africa, and much of Asia. In historical times, its range became restricted to Europe, and the last known individual died in Mazovia, Poland, in about 1627.Breeders have attempted to recreate cattle of similar appearance to aurochs by crossing traditional types of domesticated cattle, creating the Heck cattle breed.
Cattle did not originate as the term for bovine animals. It was borrowed from Anglo-Norman catel, itself from medieval Latin capitale 'principal sum of money, capital', itself derived in turn from Latin caput 'head'. Cattle originally meant movable personal property, especially livestock of any kind, as opposed to real property (the land, which also included wild or small free-roaming animals such as chickens - they were sold as part of the land).
The word is a variant of chattel (a unit of personal property) and closely related to capital in the economic sense.The term replaced earlier Old English feoh 'cattle, property', which survives today as fee. The word "cow" came via Anglo-Saxon cũ (plural cỹ), from Common Indo-European g"õus (genitive g"owés) = "a bovine animal", compare Persian: gây, Sanskrit: go, Welsh: buwch.The plural cỹ became ki or kie in Middle English, and an additional plural ending was often added, giving kine, kien, but also kies, kuin and others.
This is the origin of the now archaic English plural, "kine"The Scots language singular is coo or cou, and the plural is "kye". In older English sources such as the King James Version of the Bible, "cattle" refers to livestock, as opposed to "deer" which refers to wildlife. "Wild cattle" may refer to feral cattle or to undomesticated species of the genus Bos. Today, when used without any other qualifier, the modern meaning of "cattle" is usually restricted to domesticated bovines.
In general, the same words are used in different parts of the world, but with minor differences in the definitions. The terminology described here contrasts the differences in definition between the United Kingdom and other British-influenced parts of the world such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the United States.