Our breed’s relationship with dinosaurs

For those few of us that are watusi wonks (and we know who we are) this article will make us pant for it’s content.  The rest of you can go back to sleep.

Cary Woodruff is the Director of Paleontology of the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum in Malta, Montana.  He has graciously shared with us an account of his research AND it is written clearly and concisely for those of us pretty much limited to Jurassic Park for our knowledge base…..

My name is Cary Woodruff, and I am the Director of Paleontology at the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum in Malta, MT. My area of specialization is in sauropod dinosaurs. Sauropods are the “long-neck” dinosaurs, and classically represented by the logo for Sinclair Oil, “Brontosaurus”, Littlefoot from the “Land Before Time”, and the Flintstone’s beloved pet Dino. So what the heck is a paleontologist studying long-neck dinosaurs doing with Ankole-Watusi? Back when I was an undergraduate student at Montana State University, I was studying a special feature in the vertebrae (“back bones”) of some sauropods. At the top of some sauropod vertebrae is a paired process that is scientifically called the bifurcated neural spine. Since the discovery of sauropods with bifurcated neural spines in the late 1800’s, no one knew what this paired feature was for. Some paleontologists speculated that it was filled with muscles, others that it was filled with air sacs (like modern birds have), and some thought that in life it was just an open trough. In over 130 years of study there was little if any consensus. While doing my undergraduate studies, I was conducting a lot of research on bifurcated neural spines, and I was captivated as to what purpose this structure served.
Traditionally, when paleontologists were studying sauropods, they looked to modern long-necks animals (like giraffes) as proxies. Unfortunately, giraffes nor any modern long-neck animal possess bifurcated neural spines, thus the purpose of this feature seemed out of reach. I decide to go back to square one. Before, paleontologists had looked to modern long neck-animals, but with no solution. Conversely, I didn’t view a sauropod neck as a long neck, I viewed it as a heavy weight extending out from the body. Thus I decided to look for modern animals that had a head size and weight that made up a large contribution to the entire animal. And that is what led me to the Ankole-Watusi.
It was a huge gamble, but no other animal alive today possess a head to body weight ratio of the Watusi, thus I sought the help of the World Watusi Association. With the Association’s help, I found amazingly kind breeders who donated 3 Watusi cows to conduct dissections on. The reason for the dissection was twofold: 1) We could test my hypothesis to see if the Watusi does have bifurcated neural spines, and 2) if so, we could finally understand the actual anatomy associated with this feature. To everyone’s amazement (myself included) I was right! The Ankole-Watusi was the first modern, plant eating, four legged animal since the sauropod dinosaurs to be recognized to possess bifurcated neural spine. What we learned from all of the work conducted on the Watusi anatomy, is that on the tops of the split spines is a likewise split ligament. This ligament – called the nuchal ligament – is very important in moving one’s head. As anyone who has played with a rubber band knows, they are elastic – if you pull it, the band will snap back. And ligaments are the same. I theorized that due to the great weight of the horns, the Watusi developed the bifurcated spines as an energy efficient means to sustain head movement.
While this is great knowledge, you may be asking, “So what does this have to do with dinosaurs?” What this means, it that for the first time in over 130 years we finally know what muscles, ligaments, tendons, etc. were associated with the bifurcated spines in sauropods, and why they evolved this feature. We now hypothesize that sauropod dinosaur evolved the bifurcated neural spine to harbor a split elastic ligament that aided in prolonged feeding. We now know that sauropods did not using their long necks to feed high in trees; instead their necks were extended horizontally – like living booms. Opposed to exerting a lot of muscle energy to move the neck side to side, they could contract the neck, and let the elastic energy stored in the split ligaments pull the neck side to side. Imaging one of those toy drinking birds, but on it’s side. In fact many animals alive today use stored elastic energy – kangaroos and horses use such for movement. Thus without the Ankole-Watusi (and the support of the World Watusi Association), a 130 year old mystery is finally solved. I am still conducting more Watusi research, and undoubtedly this remarkable breed will continue to amaze and contribute to scientific discoveries.
Cary Woodruff
sauropod4@gmail.com

 

Shirts for Sale at Macon

Ok all you WWA and tie dye fans we have shirts! Get ready to help the WWA make a tie dyed wave in Macon! We’ll have sizes from 12 months through 3xl. Bring your money and be ready to spend it on one of the coolest shirts around. In the spirit of tie dye…. Peace, love and Watusi!  Lissa Pabst

These will be available at the Macon, Missouri sale and get-together on April 6 and 7, 2016

For Sale or Lease – FP Herdsire

duane bull
Bar G Thunder

 

We are offering one of the top bulls in the nation for sale or lease, Bar G Thunder,born 2012 sire Bar G Kulow and dam Bar G Thunder Sue. Thunder is a proven sire of quality and color, he has a great attitude and easy to handle,won Grand Champion as a yearling and as a two year old, he is current on shots , vaccinations, semen test , and trick test, serious inquiries only.   Call Duane , home 435-381-2736 cell 435-749-1561.

Bar G Thunder
Bar G Thunder

Bar G Kulow

Bar G Kulow is a rising star in the watusi world being used by Bar G Ranch, Duane and Kolene Gilbert, of Castle Dale, Utah.

Bar_G_Kulow

Kulow was sired by the well known TW Booger, who was by TS Cody and out of HA Buelah. His dam was BWS Miss Stella who was by JCS Lonestar and out of ENE Lovely Lady. This combination of bloodlines produces lots of color and horn.

Duane & Kolene Gilbert
Bar G Ranch
435-749-9334
zebras2@etv.net

The following photos are of two of the wonderful offspring that this bull has produced.

Bar GSahara
Bar G Sahara
Bar G Funny Face
Bar G Funny Face

 

NOTICE TO ALL MEMBERS AND POTENTIAL MEMBERS

TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE WORLD WATUSI ASSOCIATION IN GOOD STANDING – PLEASE READ:

As you know your Association operates a website located at www.watusi.org. We routinely post information, photos and such about the Association and watusi cattle. We are embarking on an exciting new upgrade to our site. When finished we will have available our complete ‘Herd Book’ of pedigree records online in a searchable format. This is where our membership enters the picture. Firstly we are offering to publish a membership list online. We want to recognize your input and privacy so we ask that all of you advise the office of your desire to be included or your wish to not be shown.

In the pedigrees the breeder will show, which will include name, city and state. We also have this same information available for current owner as shown on the certificate of registration. If you desire to have more contact information to be shown please indicate on the attached form and return to the office. All non-responses will be considered opt out decisions. The second item we need your assistance with is our photograph project. The registration certificates contain photographs of the animal, however, most of these are as calves. We would like to be able to link as many adult photographs as possible to these pedigrees.   If you would like to participate please send your photograph (s) to our office watusicattle@outlook.com. Please identify the animal in the photograph.

 

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­TO THE WORLD WATUSI ASSOCIATION: Please print out this form, complete and initial your response and send to office.

 

I would like to opt out of participation in our online membership list. Do not post any personal information. ­­_______________________

I wish to participate in the online membership list. Please list indicated items. _______________

Name: ____________________________   
Membership # ____________________

Address: ________________________________________________________________________

Phone # ____________________________

Cell Phone: #__________________________________

URL (Website) _____________________________

Email address: __________________________

Farm/Ranch Name: __________________________________________________

Any other information you would like listed: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

My steer my buddy

Sheri Gurr and her selfie with her steer Mojo
Sheri Gurr and her selfie with her steer Mojo

Sheri Gurr and her husband Randy are relatively new in the world of watusi, but have jumped in with both feet.  They have added many new faces to their farm Randy Gurr Watusi in Utah.  http://www.rockingGwatusi.com

Then there is Mojo, Sheri’s steer.  Steers make wonderful ambassadors, pasture ornaments, conversation pieces and best friends.

 

Gurr Mojo hamming
Sheri Gurr and her buddy, Mojo.

2016 Spring Fling Get Together

It is Spring again.  For some of us the grass is starting to green up and we ar getting ready for those new calves.  With Spring comes the Lolli Bros. Exotic Animal Sale in Macon, Missouri,   www.lollibros.com.   Watusi will sell on Thursday, April 7 and we will be having a social at 7:00p. m. CST Wednesday, April 6, 2016 in the conference room at the Comfort Inn Macon, Missouri.  Besides food and watusi talk we will hold our Fun Auction of a variety of donated items, the proceeds from which help fund the Association.   Sneak peek at auction items…coming from Texas. This is a professionally prepared Watusi skull. Not a big one, but at least a good starter kit!

Spring auction 2016

These are a few of the other miscellaneous items offered.  From Kentucky…

Spring Fling 2016b
Horn key holders

…from Utah

Spring Fling 2016d

Please check around your barn and house to see if there is anything you would like to donate.  All items are appreciated.

Steers are beautiful as well

We all know that most animals produce around an equal number of males and females over time.  Because in breeding situations the number of males needed is exponentially less than females one solution is to steer some of those extra males.

Will Ross of Ross Ranch Horns in Brownsboro, Texas rossranchhorns.com submitted to us this information on his young steer, BWS Old Red.  This is a four year old steer with phenomenal growth and bloodlines.  Talk about a pasture ornament.

BWS Old Red 11-5-15

 

BWS Old Red Pedigree

 

BWS Old Red 10-7-15
BWS Old Red, WWAFP4015

 

The World Watusi Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and advancement of African Ankole- Watusi cattle.