Bos acutifrons

Bos acutifrons is the most ancient representative of the genus Bos, cattle. Fossils of an individual of B. acutifrons were found in middle Pleistocene-aged strata of Siwalik Hills of Kashmir, in either modern Pakistan or India, in the 19th century. The prehistoric species was described, along with B. planifrons, by Richard Lydekker in 1878. In 1898 Lydekker synonymised B. planifrons with B. acutifrons, reconsidering the skull found to be that of a female individual of the same species.[1]

Bos acutifrons
Temporal range: Middle Pleistocene
Siwalik ox (Bos acutifrons) Wild oxen, sheep and goats of all lands, living and extinct (Page 21, Fig. 2) BHL9369940 (cropped) 2.jpg
Bos acutifrons skull
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Bovinae
Genus: Bos
B. acutifrons
Binomial name
Bos acutifrons
Lydekker, 1878

Edwin H. Colbert in 1935 first suggested that from this species the modern species of Bos arose, with the aurochs, B. primigenius, the ancestors of modern taurine cattle, evolving from the Indian Subcontinent via B. namadicus, a smallish prehistoric species of cattle described by Hugh Falconer in 1837 from a fossil recovered in the early 19th century from Narbada (known at the time as Narmada by the British Raj) in central India.[1][2][3] B. namadicus and B. primigenius are thought to have split 0.61 and 0.85 million years ago based on a study of the accumulation of differences in mitochondrial DNA by MacHugh et al. in 1997, with Badam and Sankhyan in 2009 dating the existence of B. namadicus to the middle to late Pleistocene. Colbert's theory was expanded by Pilgrim in 1947 and followed by subsequent authors,[1] until 2007 when Bienvenido Martínez-Navarro et al. proposed an alternative theory that Bos in general and B. primigenius in particular arose in Africa.[1][4] Following the 2009 discovery of the remains an African species of Bos in Eritrea, B. buiaensis, which also immigrated into the Levant, this theory gained currency based on morphological and chronological grounds.[1][5][6] Conversely, the presence of B. primigenius remains in the Levant which pre-date the earliest remains of both B. buiaensis and B. namadicus, as presented by Ofer Bar-Yosef and Miriam Belmaker in 2011, cast doubt upon this 'out-of-Africa' theory as well as the theory that aurochs developed from B. namadicus.[5]

The species B. acutifrons first appeared in the early Pleistocene, some 2.58 million years ago at the earliest, and died out around 1 million years ago. Duvernois in 1990 proposed it evolved directly from an Indian species of Leptobos, perhaps L. falconeri, along with the Pleistocene genera or subgenera Bison and Bibos.[1] Martínez-Navarro et al. consider that the Bos genus most likely arose in Africa descended from Pelorovis oldowayensis, described by Hans Reck in 1928 from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, which was itself derived from the older species P. turkanensis described from northern Kenya. Both Pelorovis species were moved to genus Bos by Martínez-Navarro et al. in 2014, which would make the oldest Bos species African.[6]

Tong et al. in 2018 also call the Martínez-Navarro hypothesis into question, pointing out that there are good morphological ground to separate the genus Pelorovis from Bos, which would invalidate the theory.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Tong, Hao-Wen; Chen, Xi; Zhang, Bei; Wang, Fa-Gang (January 2018). "New fossils of Bos primigenius (Artiodactyla, Mammalia) from Nihewan and Longhua of Hebei, China". Vertebrata PalAsiatica. 56: 69–92. doi:10.19615/j.cnki.1000-3118.170722. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  2. ^ van Vuure, Cis (March 2003). De Oeros – Het spoor terug (Report) (in Dutch). Wageningen: Stichting Kritisch Bosbeheer, Sectie Natuurbeheer van Wageningen Universiteit, Afdeling Natuur van het Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap, & Wetenschapswinkel. pp. 1–340. ISBN 906754678X. rapport 186. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  3. ^ van Vuure, Cis (2005). Retracing the Aurochs: History, Morphology and Ecology of an extinct wild ox. Sofia: Pensoft Publishing.
  4. ^ Martínez-Navarro, Bienvenido; Pérez-Claros, Juan Antonio; Palombo, Maria Rita; Rook, Lorenzo; Palmqvist, Paul (September 2007). "The Olduvai buffalo Pelorovis and the origin of Bos". Quaternary Research. 68 (2): 220–226. doi:10.1016/j.yqres.2007.06.002. S2CID 55104027.
  5. ^ a b Bar-Yosef, Ofer; Belmaker, Miriam (June 2011). "Early and Middle Pleistocene Faunal and hominins dispersals through Southwestern Asia". Quaternary Science Reviews. 30 (11–12): 1318–1337. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.02.016. S2CID 51748319. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  6. ^ a b Martínez-Navarro, Bienvenido; Narjess, Karoui-Yaakoub; Oms, Oriol; Amri, Lamjed; López-García, Juan Manuel; Zerai, Kamel; Blain, Hugues-Alexandre; Mtimet, Moncef-Saïd; Espigares, María-Patrocinio; Ben Haj Ali, Nebiha; Ros-Montoya, Sergio; Boughdiri, Mabrouk; Agustí, Jordi; Khayati-Amma, Hayet; Maalaoui, Kamel; Om El Khir, Maahmoudi; Sala, Robert; Othmani, Abdelhak; Hawas, Ramla; Gómez-Merino, Gala; Solè, Àlex; Carbonell, Eudald; Palmqvist, Paul (April 2014). "The early Middle Pleistocene archeopaleontological site of Wadi Sarrat (Tunisia) and the earliest record of Bos primigenius". Quaternary Science Reviews. 90: 37–46. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.02.016. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  7. ^ Woestenburg, Martin (August 2003). "De Oeros – Het spoor terug (recensie boek Cis van Vuure)". Boomblad (in Dutch). Wageningen: Landscape Centre, Wageningen Environmental Research, Wageningen Universiteit. pp. 12, 13. ISSN 0924-0101. Retrieved 4 January 2020.