The wild, extinct supercow returning to Europe

Story highlights

  • Europe's largest mammal the auroch is being re-created through selective breeding
  • Fourth generation herds in pilot projects around Europe
  • Keystone herbivore could restore failing ecosystems and save other species

(CNN)Our ancestors learned to respect the auroch, and immortalized them in pre-historic cave paintings.

The earliest cows were mighty beasts that stood almost as tall as elephants, with lean, powerful frames and fearsome horns that would make a hunter think twice.
    For thousands of years the aurochs were the largest land mammals in Europe, until the rise of human civilization decimated their numbers, and the last of the species died in Poland in 1627 -- one of the first recorded cases of extinction.