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large ruminant animals of the family Bovidae, Artiodactyla order. They are closely related to buffalo. Oxen are characterized by heavy, bulky torsos, short necks, and short strong feet. The forward part of the upper lip lacks hair, and they have bare, moist muzzles. The tail is long and usually has a brush of long hair on the end. In many species the skin on the lower part of the neck and chest forms a hanging fold (the dewlap). The females have four teats. In distinction from buffalo, the horns of oxen are round and smooth and appear both on males and females (except for certain polled breeds of domestic cattle). Wild species of oxen are found in Europe, Asia, and North America. Numerous breeds of domestic cattle are distributed everywhere. Wild oxen live in tropical forests and the forest-steppe; they live in open steppe expanses and on desert plateaus, ranging from regions below sea level to elevations of 5,000 m. They are herd animals and feed on various types of vegetation. The females give birth to one calf. There are four genera of oxen: the true ox, the yak, the ox of the genus Bibos, and the bison.

True oxen (Bos) have no wild representatives. The large wild ox called the urus (Bos primigenius) belonged to this genus. Earlier they were widely distributed in Southeast Asia and in Europe. The last urus was killed in Europe in 1627. The urus was domesticated and became the forefather of some cattle (the gray Ukrainian, the Iaroslav, the Kholmogor, and other breeds).

Yaks (Poephagus) are represented by only one wild species, the yak (in Tibet and nearby regions). In a domesticated state they are found in the mountainous regions of Middle and Central Asia (in the USSR, mainly in Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, and Southern Siberia).

The ox of the genus Bibos includes three species of wild oxen from southern Asia—the gaur (the gayal is its domesticated form), the banteng (the domesticated form of the banteng are the so-called Bali cattle), and the gray ox, or kouprey (Bibos sauveli), which lives in the forests of Cambodia.

Bisons (Bison) include two wild species, the bison and the aurochs, which have not been domesticated.


Sokolov, I. I. Opyt estestvennoi klassifikatsii polorogikh. (Trudy Zoologicheskogo Inta AN SSR, vol. 14.) Moscow-Leningrad, 1953.
Sokolov, I. I. Kipytnye zveri. (Fauna SSSR: Mlekopitaiushchie, vol. 1, part 3.) Moscow-Leningrad, 1959.
Bogoliubskii, S. N. Proiskhozhdenie i preobrazovanie domashnikh zhivotnykh. Moscow, 1959.
Mlekopitaiushchie Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 1. Edited by V. G. Geptner and N. P. Naumov. Moscow, 1961.
Bohlken, H. “Vergleichende Untersuchungen an Wildrindern.” Zoologische Jahrbücher: Abteilung für allgemeine Zoologie and Physiologie, 1958, vol. 68, issue 1/2.


References in classic literature ?
You seek to know where your oxen have run for shelter from the cold
There, in the kloof, you shall find your oxen --yes, five days' journey from here you will find them all.
And here it may be stated that on the eleventh day of his sojourn at the kraal of Zweete, those whom he sent returned with the oxen, except the three only.
The oxen had started back from their hay, and were standing with their heads down the street, leaving room for the party to act in.
The steward was seated on the hay, and enjoined to hold his peace and apply the goad that was placed in his hand, while the oxen were urged on.
The oxen were in brisk motion, and presently the cries of pursuit were heard in the street.
While this scene was passing in the walk, Kirby had overtaken the cart, which was his own, and had been driven by Edwards, without asking the owner, from the place where the patient oxen usually stood at evening, waiting the pleasure of their master.
465-478) Pray to Zeus of the Earth and to pure Demeter to make Demeter's holy grain sound and heavy, when first you begin ploughing, when you hold in your hand the end of the plough-tail and bring down your stick on the backs of the oxen as they draw on the pole-bar by the yoke-straps.
Highlights of "From Field to Table Weekend'' include a Parade of Oxen, an ox driving competition, and a plowing match between up to a dozen local teamsters and their oxen.
Problem is, you need oxen to work the field, and oxen make a mess in the stable because, well, oxen gon' be oxen.
A team of oxen can be relatively easy to train, since cattle are often more relaxed and secure when they are with a buddy.
Cambodia's royal astrologer, reading signs from a pair of royal oxen, predicted Tuesday that the country's farmers will enjoy good corn crops this year.