It is not improbable that the Bison mentioned by Seneca and Pliny was the Bonasus of Aristotle, and the Zubr and Auerochs of the moderns, while the Urus of these writers seems to be now extinct as a wild animal, but was perhaps the original of our present domestic cattle.* * Bojanus, however, is of a different opinion.
(page 239) The Zubr,* (Pr. Zhubr), Bos urus. * I give the preference to this name of the animal, because it is so called in the country where it now exists, and because many of its other synonyms are subject to controversy.
(page 251-252) In addition to what Bojanus alleges, as being favorable to the opinion that the turs of Masovia were a few individuals of the original wild ox, (Bos taurus), which had escaped death or domestication, such as, he says, are still found in a few parks of Scotland and England; or what Jarocki states to prove that the tur was the same animal as the zubr which he thinks was called tur in Muscovia and Samogitia, and zubr in Lithuania, I shall say, in corroboration of the latter opinion, that nearly all that Herberstein knew about the tur from hearsay, is fabulous; (for instance, that it breeds with tame cows, but that the progeny does not come to perfection, "vituli qui nascuntur non sunt vitales;" that the turs which have mixed with tame cows, are expelled from their herd, as infamous, &c.) the report which he makes respecting the carcass of a tur, given to him by King Sigismundus Augustus, bears strong evidence of his having received a zubr, which the men who delivered it called tur, whereas he himself allows that he was absent at the time the present was received.
As an appendix to our history of the bison, it will not be out of place, if we here proceed to give a short sketch of the history of its Old World relative, the little known and almost extinct aurochs or zubr, our information respecting which is derived from a valuable paper by Dr. Weissenborn of Weimar, published in the 'Magazine of Natural History for May and June 1838.'
The Zubr, or European Bison.*—(Bison zubris.)
* The bonasos, or monapos, described by Aristotle as inhabiting Pæonia (the modern province of Bulgaria, in Turkey), and the bison, which Pausanias and Oppian describe as existing in the same locality, appear to be the present species, although no longer found there; and it is, no doubt, the animal called zimbr in Moldavia, about the time of Demetrius Cantemir. It has also been called wisen, wisant, visant, ure, our, auer, auerocks, urochs, and tur; evidently originating in the more classic terms bison, urus, and taurus. There is a third species of bison (Bison Caucasica), inhabiting Mount Caucasus, and probably some districts of India and other parts of Asia.