Extinct European big herbivores“Szczyrzyc” sounds like one of those parody place-names you use to joke about a vowel-challenged language, but no, it’s a real town in Poland.

“Babcia” is Polish for “grandmother.”

There’s a Hebrew word (גָּלְמִ֤י), used in Psalm 139:16, that can mean “embryo”. Other translations include “unfinished vessel” or “unformed substance.” So, a fair synonym for “raw material” or “unshaped Being.”

The last attested auroch died in Poland in 1627.

In recent years, we’ve been trying to back-breed something similar. But any animal we develop today will be a descendant of cows, not a resurrected ancestor. Selective breeding is not Homestuck.


198x, Szczyrzyc, Poland.

Cow 1: . . .

Tiger: . . .

Cow 2: . . .

Tiger: How long have there been two of you?!

Polish man: <Long as I’ve been alive.>

Cow 1: <Were there always two of us?>

Cow 2: <I think one of us used to be different.>

Translator: He says, as long as he’s been alive…

Polish man: <Babcia, also, used to say they never changed. But the word she called their kind was “embryos.”>

Translator: <Embryos? Of what?>

Polish man: <Just — her favorite term for their kind was “embryos.” Of what, she never said.>

Cow 1: <Were you the different one?>

Cow 2: <I don’t remember ever being different . . .>

Walker (thinking): The wolf and the “domestic wolf” are distinctive Beings. As is the domestic cat. Although that cat could get very wild-looking when it wanted. And cattle are domesticated as well . . .

Walker: Tell me about the wild counterparts of cattle.

Researcher: You mean aurochs? Wild oxen?

Walker: Yes, those. What do they look like?

Researcher: Mostly dirt at this point, boss. The last recorded specimen died in the 1600s.