UK News: Ancient animal skull washes up on north coast in ‘exciting’ discovery | Science | News

The ancient remains of an aurochs that was exterminated in the 17th century have been found washed up on a Northumberland beach by a passer-by who came across a giant animal skull. Dannielle Keys, 51, was walking along Blyth Beach when she came across a skull sticking out of the sand earlier this month. Initially confused by the discovery, Ms. Keys later learned that the skull belonged to an aurochs. The animal was exterminated in the 17th century after the last creature died in Poland in 1627.

With males standing 6ft tall and weighing 236st, it was one of the largest herbivores in the Holocene, with animals roaming Asia and northern Europe. But nearly 400 years after the creatures disappeared, the remains of the extinct species washed up on the shores of Great Britain.

On a mission to identify the mysterious bone she found, Mrs Case took some pictures of the skull and sent them to the Great North Museum in Newcastle, which she later said belonged to an aurochs.

Then he returned to the beach the next day and dug up his find. Mrs Keys said: “I told my partner about it when I got home and we had a bit of a look on the internet. Luckily it was still there when I drove down the next day.

“It’s really quite exciting. It’s not every day you find something this unusual or this old. I’ll be going back to the beach at low tide in the next couple of weeks and have a look around to see if there are any other remains because you never know.

Ms Case is now hoping to cash in on her discovery and has already received lucrative offers from potential buyers.

He said: “I haven’t done anything with it yet, it’s still drying. Someone made us an offer for it, but I’m still going.” Not sure who will buy it, but it has to go. It’s too big to stay here.”

Aurochs is the ancestor of all cattle, making it one of the most important species to exist for mankind. According to Rewidling Europe, although the species died out hundreds of years ago, its DNA is still alive and distributed among a number of ancient original cattle breeds.

For example, current cattle breeds such as the Highland and Longhorn have scrub DNA, which could open the door for reconstruction projects. Breeding of the Aurochs’ closest living relatives in Europe produced Bulls, the closest descendants of the extinct animal.

READ MORE: World hits 8 billion as most populous countries revealed

In fact, scientists have been trying to bring extinct species back to Earth for over a decade. For example, the Tauros Program in the Netherlands has been fighting to breed aurochs since 2008.

Meanwhile, the Auerrind Project has been running since 2013 and currently has five breeding herds in Germany. Klaus Kropp, a trained archaeologist and leader of the Auerrind Project, said: “We are indeed on the right track. If we continue to carefully select for the next 10 years, we could potentially have a stable population by then.

“We know the DNA of this animal, and we can compare it to the DNA of modern cattle, which can yield some pretty surprising results.”

For example, the Holstein, better known as a dairy cow, shares about 95 percent of its DNA with an auroch. In older breeds, this percentage is even higher.

Don’t miss it
Germany pulls a U-turn as Scholz delays nuclear phase-out [REVEAL]
A sturgeon swelled up after taking the blame for Scotland’s oil field [INSIGHT]
Millions in China move closer to lockdown as ‘worst COVID-19 outbreak’ hits [REPORT]

Mr Kropp said: “The distance from aurochs to Pajuna cattle from Spain is only 0.12 per cent, so there is more than 98 per cent overlap.”

As many experts believe the world is experiencing a period of mass extinction, some scientists argue that bringing species back from extinction could provide a vital lifeline to the planet’s biodiversity.

But Laurien Holtjer, head of communications for Rewilding Europe, explained to Atlas Obscura that there are challenges that come with rewilding.

They said: “As wildlife comes back, we need to ensure that we learn to live with them again. And people can benefit from the return of wildlife, for example through tourism and wildlife watching.”

Leave a Comment