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MITHUN - AN IMPORTANT BOVINE SPECIES OF INDIAN ORIGIN
Neelam Gupta1, S.C. Gupta2, N.D. Verma3, RK. Pundir4, B.IK. .Joshi5, A.E. Nivsarkar6 and R Sahai National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources, P.O. Box No.129, Karnal -132 001, Haryana, INDIA
"The horns are shorter, plumper, conical and without bends and protrude from the sides of the forehead. The horns are distant at the base and rise directly out and up in a gentle curve. "
SUMMARY The Mithun (Bos frontalis) is a heavily built semi domesticated bovine species originated in north eastern hill region of India. In some folklore, Mithun have been referred to as the descendent of the Sun. There are interesting and divergent legends about the origin of mithun among different tribes. Even today, mithun is used as a holy sacrificial animal to appease the Gods by the tribesman. It is a woodland animal found at an elevation of between 2 000 and 9 000 feet. The habitat of mithun extends like a long curved belt of hills from the Akasan hill and Chin Hills of Burma through the Chittagong hill tracts of Bangladesh and the Lushai (Mizo) hills of Manipur and Naga hills of India. The geographic zone is covered with tropical evergreen rain forests. At higher elevations mithun territories are also shared by yak (Poephagus grunniens), while at lower altitudes domestic cattle and mithun co-habit. The information contained in the article is primarily based on a field survey carried out on mithun of Porba village of Nagaland. Some data collated and published by other departments is also included.
2.0 HlSTORY AND ORIGIN Mithun is considered to have originated on the Assam-Burna border, however, it cannot be said with certainty when they were domesticated. Tribal communities living in the north of Brahmaputra River area, particularly in tracts between the borders of Burma and Bhutan, rear mithuns in great numbers. Mithun is still considered as semi wild animals yet many of its characters are typical of domestication. It is not known whether mithun originated from the gaur or these two are different species of wild oxen. It has also been postulated by some workers that mithun has resulted from a cross between a gaur and domestic cattle with banteng blood, or Zebu’s in ancient times. Backcrosses with the wild gaur bulls do occur occasionally. They are made purposely by some breeders to improve the race in Bhutan and the adjoining area of Arunachal Pradesh i1l India. In some areas, crossbreds of mithun and Zebu cattle are produced, owing to the economically valuable characteristics of hybrids. The male hybrid is called Jatsa which is always sterile. The female hybrid is known as Jatsamin and is usually fertile.
5.0 PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS Mithun has a compact and sturdy build with well developed shoulders. The animals have medium to large body size (400-500 kg). It is smaller than the gaur. The heart girth were 187.5U cm and 176.UU cm in male and females respectively. The paunch girth was higher than heart girth (216.90 and 201.50 cm) in both the sexes. The body length were 138.75 and 128.75 cm and height at withers were 134.4U and 113.75 cm in male and female animals respectively. The other body measurement like hip width, pin width, head length, tail length and hom length were also higher in males than in females (Table 3).
The mithun has much wider and a flatter forehead. The horns are shorter, plumper, conical and without bends and protrude from the sides of the forehead. The horns are distant at the base and rise directly out and up in a gentle curve. The neck is thick and muscular and the double dewlap comences in place of a hump. They have a sharp ridge starting from back of the neck, tapering on the shoulder and extending up to the middle of the back approximately up to 7th thoracic vertebrae. The forelegs are thick and clumpy but the hind legs are relatively longer. The tail is covered with short hair except the tip where it ends with a tuft of hair and hardly extends up to the hock joints but never cross the joint. Adult males are generally black. White stockings on all the four legs is another contrasting feature of mithun similar ta gaur and banteng. Piebald and even white animals are encountered.
Отредактировано Wladimir (04 September 2013 23:46:48)