A team of scientists working with the Tauros Programme are trying to bring the extinct Aurochs back to Europe. The Aurochs was an ancient bovine breed that stood about 7 feet tall at the shoulder, 2 feet taller than their modern descendants, and were last seen in Europe in the 17th Century.
The species had survived for more than 250,000 years but became extinct because of a combination of habitat loss and over-hunting. The last true Aurochs is believed to have died in a Polish forest in 1627. The Aurochs is believed to have been an important element in European biodiversity, therefore as a part of the Rewilding Europe project scientists are trying to create a credible alternative, that will be named the Taurus, that could be introduced to the wild in 2020.
Scientists are using extant primitive breeds of cattle to selectively breed for traits the Aurochs possessed, and believe they are getting closer with every generation. The research has benefitted greatly from the discovery of a 6,700 year-old humerus bone belonging to an Aurochs which has allowed for genetic level comparison with the original.