Cattle thrive across the Fifth World. Domesticated by humans in the Middle East more than 10,000 years ago, their range and population grew alongside civilization’s own. After its collapse, those herds that went feral became the ancestors of the Fifth World’s cattle.


As ungulates, the grazing behavior of cattle both relies on and creates prairie. Their hooves trample small trees and underbrush that would otherwise become the first step in succession towards a forest or woodland. A herd of cattle can quite effectively maintain a patchwork of prairie and woodland, as well as an extremely ecologically productive edge between them.

Cattle also serve as a prey species for a wide variety of predators, including wolves, lions, bears, tigers, and leopards. Cattle have eyes on the sides of their heads, giving them a wide range of vision that makes it more difficult for predators to sneak up on them, but this also means that they have poor depth perception. They also protect themselves from predators by forming herds. While predators might easily snatch a single animal, especially a young calf, a large herd can fend off almost any predator, forcing them to rely on strategies that aim at isolating a single individual. As with many other herd animals, individuals seem to often separate from the herd almost intentionally, as if offering themselves up as a sacrifice to save the rest of the herd.


Matriarchal herds of cows, calves, and young bulls wander far and wide, while bulls more than a year and a half old form bull herds composed of mature males of different ages. Older bulls that no longer reproduce often become solitary and territorial. Matriarchal herds often wander much longer distances, moving between bull herds to facilitate reproduction.

Cattle herds form dominance hierarchies. To avoid dangerous, direct acts of violence, cattle engage in agonistic competitive behavior to establish a hierarhcy, like pushing others out of the way while foraging or chasing them off when they don’t get out of the way quickly enough. Dominant cows and bulls often show off their profiles and raise their necks as a dominance display. When cattle fight, they engage head-to-head, pulling and pushing each other with their horns. Many sages hold that humanity’s brief (and disastrous) experiments with hierarchical life were inspired by the domestication of hierarchical herd animals like cattle. To domesticate these animals, humans inserted themselves into other-than-human hierarchies as their most dominant individuals. This eventually seeped into the humans’ own behavior, extending an other-than-human hierarchy to fundamentally egalitarian humans — to calamitous effect.

#Human relationship

The cattle found across the Fifth World today descend from the feral cattle that escaped the end of domestication and civilization centuries ago, making them very much the product of their relationship with humans. If one believes those elders who say that this act of domestication also taught humans the concept of hierarchy, then one might argue that the humans of the Fifth World, insofar as they still struggle with the legacies of civilization, owe as much to cattle as cattle do to them.

Hunter-gatherers often hunt cattle, just as so many other predators do. The feral cattle of the Fifth World have lost the trust of humans that marked their domesticated ancestors. Mostly, the cattle of the Fifth World try to avoid humans as they would any other predator. Like other predators, human hunters primarily succeed when they find ways to isolate members of the herd.

#Cattle People

When a community focuses on its relationship with cattle to make a living, it can shape their lives in a wide variety of ways. A few examples include:

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