Aurochs is the name given to the wild ancestor of modern cattle. The aurochs has the distinction of being the first documented case of extinction. The last known wild aurochs died in the Jaktorów Forest in Poland in 1627. Hunting and the introduction of domesticated cattle led to their decline and disappearance. Their value, however, derived not just from them being a source of sustenance. Traits that were attributed to the animal, such as speed, strength, and courage, imbued it with great symbolic power. Some of their body parts were ascribed with supernatural powers. The skin of the forehead and a cross-shaped bone inside the heart were prized for their magical properties. Those who carried them became possessors of the animal’s traits.
In the 20th century efforts to bring back the Aurochs from extinction began to materialize.