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Mithun -cow- Bangladesh/Bhutan/China/India/Myanmar

(most common name in English)
(transboundary/brand name)

(most common name):
Bamen (Bhutan)
Dulong (China)
Gayal (Bangladesh, India)
Mythum (Myanmar)
local/other name (Burmese):
• Mythun (Myanmar)
local/other name (Dzongkha):
• Bami (Bhutan)
local/other name (English):
• Mythan (Bangladesh, China)
local/other name (Hindi):
• Mithan (India)
local/other name (Sarchokpa):
• Mencha (Bhutan)
• Menscha (Bhutan)

The Mithun (Bos frontalis) is a semi-domesticated Gaur. Mithun and gaur were found by Fischer (1969) to be identical in karyotype (visual appearance and number of chromosomes found in the cell nuclei of an organism or species).

Mithun domestication is presumed to have started at around 500 BC, however no formal documentation confirms this.

Mithun have flat foreheads and short tails. Bulls are usually black, cows are usually brown, pied coats are also seen — all have white to tan stockings. Calves are born a dark red in color; mature coloration occurs around 6 months of age.

Gaur vs Mithun - Mithun have:
• a larger dewlap
• straighter, very thick horns
• a wide, flat poll
• a stockier build with less height in the withers

In Myanmar, mithun can be found in the northwestern hilly part of Chin state (bordering Manipur state in India). Although semi-domesticated they do retain certain wild instincts and rarely mate in captivity. Reared in the forests, they browse mainly on shrubs, bushes and leaves. If a salt lick is provided they will return to a regular spot.

Mithun belong to the Bibovine cattle group. Bibovine refers to several species of large Southeast Asian wild cattle that are closely related to common cattle.

Mithun subtypes reported (but not documented) include:
• Lachong (Bhutan)
• Gamba (Bhutan)
• Sheela (Bhutan)
• Arunachali (India)
• Nagaland (India)
• Mizoram (or Zosial) (India)
• Manipur (India)

Mithun -cow- Bangladesh/Bhutan/China/India/Myanmar

This page was last updated on: 2023-05-29

You can also go to:

My Daily Cow® Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India and Myanmar and read about other Bangladesh, Bhutanese, Chinese, Indian and Myanmar cattle breeds.

The Cow Wall® A-Z Cattle Breed Picture Reference to see other breeds of cattle in the world.