zebu


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zebu

(zē`byo͞o), domestic animal of the cattlecattle,
name for the ruminant mammals of the genus Bos, and particularly those of the domesticated species, Bos taurus and B. indica. The term oxen, broadly used, refers also to closely related animals, such as the buffalo and the bison.
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 family, Bos indicus, found in parts of E Asia, India, and Africa. The zebu characteristically has a large fatty hump (sometimes two humps) over the withers. It is usually fawn, gray, black, or bay. An inferior source of milk and meat, it has great endurance and comparatively long legs and has been used in India as a riding and draft animal. Zebus were first introduced into the United States, where they are called Brahman cattleBrahman cattle,
breed of beef cattle developed in the S United States in the early 1900s by combining several breeds or strains of zebu cattle of India. Brahman cattle have a very distinctive appearance with a hump over the shoulders, loose skin under the throat, and large
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, in the 19th cent. They are used in Central and South America and are well established in the Gulf states, where they are interbred with domestic cattle to produce an animal that has greater resistance to heat and to ticks than the ordinary domestic cattle and better flesh than the zebu. Zebus are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae.

Zebu

 

humped cattle (Bos indicus), similar in origin to domestic cattle. Some zoologists unite them in one species, Bos primigenius, believing zebus to be descendants of the wild urus; others think that the zebu is closely related to the banteng, has a common ancestor with the banteng, or is itself a descendant of the banteng.

The zebu is characterized by a hump (on the neck and the fore part of the withers) weighing 5–8 kg. The coat can be pied red or pied black, rust colored, gray, or brown. Adult cows weigh 250–270 kg, with a maximum of 550 kg, and bulls weigh 300–350 kg, with a maximum of 800 kg. It is thought that zebus were domesticated in Egypt and Asia Minor two or three millennia before the Common Era. They are found in India, Africa, the tropical and subtropical regions of America, and the Near East. In the USSR zebus are raised in the Azerbaijan SSR (Azerbaijan purebred indigenous cattle types) and in the republics of Middle Asia (the zebu-like indigenous cattle types—Khorosan and Kurama). Zebus are raised basically as draft and meat cattle. The dressing percentage of normally fattened animals is 45–50 percent. The palatability of the meat is not distinguishable from that of beef. The milk yield per lactation is 500–600 kg, 1,500 kg at most. The milk contains 4.5–5 percent fat. By mating shorthorn cows with zebu bulls, breeders in the United States have created such meat cattle breeds as Santa Gertrudis, Bradford, Brangus, Beefmasters, and Charbray. In the USSR work is being done on the hybridization of zebus with Schwyz cattle to create new meat breeds.

E. A. ARZUMANIAN

zebu

[′zē·bü]
(vertebrate zoology)
A domestic breed of cattle, indigenous to India, belonging to the family Bovidae, distinguished by long drooping ears, a dorsal hump between the shoulders, and a dewlap under the neck; known as the Brahman in the United States.

zebu

a domesticated ox, Bos indicus, having a humped back, long horns, and a large dewlap: used in India and E Asia as a draught animal
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