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Iberian Fighting Bull
Topic Started: Jan 10 2012, 01:30 PM (14,798 Views)
Taipan
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Iberian Fighting Bull

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The Iberian Fighting Bull (Toro Bravo, toro de lidia, toro lidiado, ganado bravo, Touro de Lide) is an Iberian cattle breed. It is primarily bred free-range on extensive estates in Southern Spain, Portugal and Latin American countries where bull fighting is organized. Fighting bulls are selected primarily for a certain combination of aggression, energy, strength, stamina and intelligence: a bull intelligent enough to distinguish man from cape would be too dangerous. Bulls too passive or lazy to charge would make no spectacle, and bulls without stamina would tire before the fifteen minutes of the fight had passed and so on.

History of the breedSome commentators trace the origins of the fighting bull to wild bulls from the Iberian Peninsula and use was made of them by the Roman Empire for Colosseum games.

Although the actual origins are disputed, genetic studies have indicated that the breeding stock have an unusually old genetic pool and an unusual amount of DNA usually found in cattle in Africa, perhaps coming from the Maghreb and dating from the period of Moorish occupation of Spain.

The aggression of the bull has been maintained (or augmented, see above) by selective breeding and has come to be popular among the people of Spain, France and Portugal for the purpose of bullfighting. It was later introduced to Latin America by the Spanish settlers who wished to hold bullfights in their colonies.

In May 2010, Spanish scientists cloned the first of the breed. The calf, named Got, meaning "glass" in Valencian, was cloned from a bull named Vasito and implanted into a Holstein host mother.

Breed characteristics
The fighting bull is characterized by its aggressive behaviour, especially when solitary or unable to flee. Many are coloured black or dark brown, but other colorations are normal. They reach maturity slower than meat breeds as they were not selected to be heavy, having instead an well-muscled "athletic" look, with a prominent morillo, a complex of muscles over the shoulder and neck which gives the bull its distinctive profile and strength with its horns. The horns are longer than in most other breeds and are also present in both males and females. Mature bulls weigh from 500 to 700 kg (1100-1600 lb).

Among fighting cattle there are several "encastes" or sub types of the breed. Of the so-called "foundational breeds", only the bloodlines of Vistahermosa, Vázquez, Gallardo and Cabrera remain today. In the cases of the latter two only the ranches of Miura and Pablo Romero are deeply influenced by them. The so-called "modern foundational bloodlines" are Saltillo, Murube, Parladé and Santa Coloma, all of which are mainly composed of Vistahermosa blood.

Growth
Fighting cattle born on specialised, wide-ranging ranches which are often havens for Spanish wildlife as the farming techniques used are extensive. It is raised by its mother until one year old, after which it is separated from the mother regardless of gender. Afterwards it is branded and kept in single sex groups. When they reach two years or so, they are sent to the tienta, or testing.

For the males, this will establish if they are suitable for breeding, the bullfight, or being slaughtered for meat. The testing for the bullfight is only of their aggression towards the horse, as they cannot see a man on the ground before they enter the ring. They learn how to use their horns in tests of strength and dominance with other bulls. Due to their especial aggression, these combats can lead to severe injuries and even the death of bulls at great cost to the breeder.

The females are more fully tested, including by a bullfighter with his capes, hence a bull's "courage" is often said to descend from his mother.

If fit for bullfighting bulls will return to their peers. Cows passing the tienta will become mothers and slaughtered only when they are too old to bear calves.

After males are three years old they are no longer considered calves, afterwards they are known as novillos and are ready for bullfighting, although novilladas are for training bullfighters, or novilleros. The best bulls are kept for corridas de toros with full matadors. Under Spanish law they must be at least four years old and reach the weight of 460kg to fight in a first rank bullring, 435 for a second rank one, and 410kg for the third rank rings. They must also have fully-functional vision, even horns (which have not been tampered with) and be in generally good condition.

A few times a year a bull will be indultado, or 'pardoned', meaning his life is spared in the bullring due to 'outstanding' behavior in the ring leading to the audience petitioning the president of the ring with white handkerchiefs. The bullfighter joins the petition as it is a great honor to have a bull one has fought pardoned. The bull will then be returned to the ranch where he will live out his days in the fields and in most cases will become a 'seed bull' (he is mated once with some 30 cows and these offspring are tested after four years for their efficacy in the ring). In these circumstances a bull's lifespan can be 20 to 25 years.

Cattle have dichromacy, rendering them red-green colorblind and falsifying the idea that the color red makes them angry; they just respond to the movement the "muleta" makes. The red coloring is traditional and is believed to both dissimulate blood stains and provide a suitable light-dark contrast against the arena floor.
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firefly
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It seems that the amount of cattle that shows african origin usually is more connected with certain breeding lineages.

Mainly, because it are known other lineages, that have shown an european ancestry, on the genetic testing results.

Some subtypes, within this breed, have presented Y1, with origin in European aurochs ( father line).

However, Iberian fighting bulls, have shown to have influence from both father and mother aurochs lineages.

So this basically means, that some of them have interesting genotypes and phenotypes, though they certainly developed an higher agressivity degree than their ancestors ( at least, toward humans), their size was changed to be smaller, to facilitate their management and that some lineages, like the well known Miura, are already seriously inbred.


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I. F. bull


In Iberia, the tradition of bull fighting, is getting less interest from the new generations.
In my opinion, this is good, because it´s considered to be animal cruelty.







Edited by firefly, Jan 30 2012, 02:44 AM.
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Phalanx300
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Depends what you see as Bull fighting. The killing afterwards and wounding part is definately animal cruelty, however the rest of it hardly is.
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Phalanx300
Jan 30 2012, 06:42 AM
Depends what you see as Bull fighting. The killing afterwards and wounding part is definately animal cruelty, however the rest of it hardly is.
I see bullfighting as is done in Spain and Portugal ( but especially in Spain).
And of course that I mean about the wounding and the killing part.


I´ll adress here some questions that were raised before by some people:

How aggressive really are these bulls ?:

Before bullfighting, they grow and live on the wild ( at least many of them) so they they have a relatively peaceful life ( relatively because they are sometimes visited by humans in horses, to go after them and test their defensive skills). This means about just 4 years in the wild, before they are caught to fight on the arena.
I see that in many cases, these animals have a natural tendency to run from humans and get away from contact with humans. Or even ignore people.
They can be more tamed, if you have a close contact with them( since when they are calves).
The arena is closed, so cattle feel like traped, without a way to go out, so the bulls can become more aggressive.
Humans can be also related to an enemy, an animal that did gave to the bull, a bad memory, since very young age ( young age memories can be persistent). People who wanted charging animals, tried to act very soon on the animals to secure that they would develop more their wanted fighting traits.

On this breed, more docile examples still occur, even after hundreds of years, of selecting on «right» behavioral traits for the bull fighting purpose.
This strongly puts in question, along with how aggressivity can be confused with a defensive posture caused by traumatic experiences with humans, in how I. F. bulls behave unaturally, or at least, how this can be called an humanized behavior.
Though the safe bet by now still is: keep out from them.



Smaller size than aurochs, is a natural feature of I. F. bulls? Does this translate their capacity/ or lack of capacity of taking out their food intake from the local available plant mass? Does this is explained by the different levels on seasonal food availability?

My opinion, no. Smaller size is not natural in these animals, as clearly there are more primitive examples that do still occur with fairly larger animals ( are they better also at taking out food from their living places?).
So they still have a genetic tendency to be big animals and clearly bigger than how we usually see them, nowadays.
They were artificially selected to be small, but they still aren´t small as wanted 100%.


How inbred are I F. bulls? This has been translated to increasing health problems on them?


I F. bulls are mainly inbred at the lineage level. This means, that genetic results vary from lineage to lineage.
Some are inbred ( see Miura genetic data) but others not so much ( check different lineages genetic results for comparison).

For the second question, surely yes. Inbred bulls, have much more visits to the veterinarian services, while more genetically diverse I. F. bulls can be pretty hardy.


Are theirs muscles natural or imply steroid use or human manipulation?

Their muscles are natural sculptures fed on a wild diet. Charging behavior, usually is correlated with masculine hormones and therefore a bigger muscular mass. However maybe this was more defined, because of human selection, though no human direct manipulation was done on them. Their wild lifestyle, also did favoured a big muscle mass instead of a fatter aspect, as they train and fight among each other, to establish social positions within the herd.


How closely related with aurochs are I. F bulls?

Physically: This depends mainly on the lineages and on the individuals. Some animals are decently close visually to an aurochs ( both bulls and cows), while certainly most of them aren´t ( though certainly closer to most of the domestic cattle breeds known).
I F. bulls have a tendency to show dark muzzle instead of the aurochs white one, though I. F bulls with aurochs white muzzle, light eel stripe, long legs, good forward curving horn shape, still occur.

Genetically:

I F. bulls did presented aurochs influence on their genome since at least, the Bronze age, from both bull and cow ( matrilinear and patrilinear).
Essentially from both European and North African aurochsen. This may explain the appearance of bulls with light saddle ( north african aurochs feature), though it´s still not yet proven.
Why african taurine ancestry appears in certain lineages? This is related with the Moors strong presence in South Iberia. Moors were an advanced culture, that probably did also domesticated cattle, so they did brought their cattle with them. The Iberian fighting bull «culture» maybe did had also a contribution from North Africa.


Are these animals created to look like aurochs? No. We have the explanation for that, on their origins: the iberian peninsula has several breeds with clear aurochs influence, so the founding breeds, were close to the aurochs already, while the entry of more domestic examples in Iberia from Europe, did influenced mainly the meat and milk breeds, it didn´t influenced greatly more rustic and isolated breeds.

With time, selection on smaller size, genetic erosion, some local crossbreedings, the I F. bulls started to lose aurochs features and did lost some of their founding breeds, genotype and phenotype features.
There are I. F bulls closer to what they were hundreds of years ago, before the entry of foreign cattle? Yes, surely, but very rare.
Fortunately, other even more primitive breeds, still exist in Iberia, the so called founding breeds.


How strong they are? They can send a human flying in the air, like their ancestors?

They are fairly strong and their skull is reinforced to sustain injuries that would kill some of other cattle breeds in just one shot.

Young bulls can be over 600 kgs, but pretty agile and built like a professional body builder. Their vertebral spine shows some similarities with aurochs and the shoulder hump usually is well developed as well.

They surely can send even a pretty big man flying in the air, quite easily. That already did happened.


Edited by firefly, Jan 31 2012, 06:42 AM.
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firefly
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http://www.lascaux.culture.fr/#/fr/02_00.xml
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firefly
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Iberian fighting bull
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firefly
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I. F. bull
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firefly
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http://www.ganaderialinares.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/otradest2.jpg

bull


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Old iberian fighting bull herd


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cow

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cow


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cow


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Big young I. F. bull


Edited by firefly, Apr 15 2012, 08:20 AM.
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Young I. F bull


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cow


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cow


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Nice big young bull on the right.
Edited by firefly, Apr 5 2012, 08:13 AM.
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Dfoidl
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Those are really interesting individuals! I think the big question mark that hangs on the nice light cows is, will they give birth to dark bulls or light bulls? If the former is the case, then they are really good individuals. Interesting that the one cow has lyre-shaped horns, I haven't seen this horn shape in Lidia cow so far as I can remember. I wonder which breeds they have been crossed with so that they display this type of horn form.
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firefly
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Dfoidl
Apr 5 2012, 09:16 PM
Those are really interesting individuals! I think the big question mark that hangs on the nice light cows is, will they give birth to dark bulls or light bulls? If the former is the case, then they are really good individuals. Interesting that the one cow has lyre-shaped horns, I haven't seen this horn shape in Lidia cow so far as I can remember. I wonder which breeds they have been crossed with so that they display this type of horn form.
The color of the bulls that light cows will give birth, usually depends on the breeding lineage, from where they come from and also on the bull color, with which the light cow will mate.

But is common to see light Lidia cows, giving birth to dark bulls.

It´s also important to identify the dominant genetic imprint on the breeding lineage, that we are looking at.
If bulls with light saddle appear, in lineages with a dominant North African ancestry, that may means that bulls don´t have a wrong coat color, but rather a different origin.

3 cows on the pictures, have lyre shapped horns, the common point in all of them is that they are mature Lidia cows. This means, that horns will keep growing well after they get adult.
The other cows, seem to me to be younger and therefore display smaller horns. But the main aurochs horns shape, is nearly all there.
The sad point about this, is that nearly all the Lidia cattle that we usually see on the web and even personally, are quite young animals, because they are killed very early. So to find mature Lidia cattle, is somewhat rare.
But we have to keep in mind also, that there are some animals that have a tendency to display bigger horns than others. Also, that aurochs populations, were smaller in size, in number and in genetic variability in the Holocene than in the Pleistocene. And in South Europe this was even more evident.

As far as I know, there were no crossbreedings involved ( by the reasons that I stated above, the big horns have an explanation). The big young bull, is also not a result of crossbreeding experience, AFAIK. He just popped out, like many others aurochs alike individuals, on this breed.
It´s basically a primitive Lidia/Lide bull lineage, with somewhat bigger animals.
In the winter, some of them display shaggier coats, by the way.
Edited by firefly, Apr 6 2012, 12:27 AM.
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Dfoidl
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Quote:
 
The color of the bulls that light cows will give birth, usually depends on the breeding lineage, from where they come from and also on the bull color, with which the light cow will mate.

But is common to see light Lidia cows, giving birth to dark bulls.


That's great to hear, I used to think that the majority of Lidia lost its well-expressed coloural dimorphism.

Quote:
 
3 cows on the pictures, have lyre shapped horns, the common point in all of them is that they are mature Lidia cows. This means, that horns will keep growing well after they get adult.
The other cows, seem to me to be younger and therefore display smaller horns. But the main aurochs horns shape, is nearly all there.
The sad point about this, is that nearly all the Lidia cattle that we usually see on the web and even personally, are quite young animals, because they are killed very early. So to find mature Lidia cattle, is somewhat rare.
But we have to keep in mind also, that there are some animals that have a tendency to display bigger horns than others. Also, that aurochs populations, were smaller in size, in number and in genetic variability in the Holocene than in the Pleistocene. And in South Europe this was even more evident.


That the aurochs became smaller may be an artifact of human's influence, I think, since most of its large predators were exterminated after the pleistocene. I don't think that the climate was responsible for that, since pleistocene aurochsen were very large during the warmer periods as well.
I wonder how small the aurochs became during the medieval times. Some sources say 150 cm at the shoulders, although this sounds rather small. Wikipedia now has a new image of the horn of the last bull from another perspective, which illustrates the decrease of the horn dimensions in the last aurochs very well:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cd/Hunting_horn_of_Sigismund_III_of_Poland.jpg

The horn sheath is even slimmer than the horn cores of some specimen.
By the way, aurochsen decreased in number? This is new to me, according to my knowledge, the aurochs is one of the most common game animals at Holocene sites.

Quote:
 
As far as I know, there were no crossbreedings involved ( by the reasons that I stated above, the big horns have an explanation). The big young bull, is also not a result of crossbreeding experience, AFAIK. He just popped out, like many others aurochs alike individuals, on this breed.
It´s basically a primitive Lidia/Lide bull lineage, with somewhat bigger animals.


I like these individuals, they really represent a primitive lineage? What is the name of that lineage? Maybe there could be some really good herds within that lineage.

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Do you know the name of that breed? The line below it says "Tronco Negro Iberico". Some Sayaguesa look like they have influence from this breed.
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firefly
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Yes, most Lidia bull lineages, did lost a correct color dimorphism.

Yes, the fact that Holocene aurochs were smaller, can be related with human influence.

Yes, aurochs were pretty hunted during the Holocene and this along with other human activities ( like habitat change and occupation of the most favourable areas) conducted aurochs to a clear decrease, in some parts of the world.

Thanks for the horn picture. Like you said is surprisingly small. It´s known the age of the bull, when he died?

Yes, these individuals represent a more primitive lineage than usual. For more informations, send me an email.

Yes, Sayaguesa, Raça Preta, Morucha, Avileña and others, belong to Tronco Negro Ibérico.
The ones on the picture look like Avileña (or Raça Preta) for me, but I´m not sure.
Edited by firefly, Apr 6 2012, 07:10 AM.
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Dfoidl
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Quote:
 
The ones on the picture look like Avileña (or Raça Preta) for me, but I´m not sure.


OK, thanks - this Sayaguesa bull very likely has influence of the breed in question, I think:

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