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Uploaded on on Jun 23, 2021


Bison are large equidae of the genus Bison in the subfamily Bovinae.

Two existing species and six extinct species are identified. Of the six extinct species, five are extinct in the case of the Quaternary extinction. Bison palaeosinensis evolved in the Early Pleistocene in South Asia and is the ancestor of the evolution of B. priscus (steppe bison), which was the ancestor of all other Bison species. From 2 million years ago until 6000 BC, steppe bison spread throughout the mammoth steppe, living in Europe and north Asia with B. schoetensacki (forest bison) and North America with B. antiquus, B. latifrons, and B. occidentalis. The last extinct species, B. occidentalis, was inherited in 3000 BC by B. bison.

Of the two surviving species, the American bison B., the bison, found only in North America, is the most numerous. Although it is widely known as the buffalo in the United States and Canada, it is only remotely related to the real buffalo. The North American species is composed of two subspecies, the flat bison, B. b. bison and wood bison, B. b. athabascae, which is the namesake of Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada. A third subspecies, the eastern bison (B. b. pennsylvanicus), is no longer considered a valid taxon, as a minor synonym of B. b. bison. References to ‘wood bison” or “wood bison” in the eastern states are confusing for this subspecies and not for B. b. athabascae, which was not found in the region. The European bison, B. bonasus or sage, is found in Europe, and the Caucasus, reintroduced after extinction in the wild.

Although all species of bison are classified in their own genus, they are sometimes bred with domestic cattle(genus Bos) and sometimes produce fertile offspring called beefalo or zubron.



The American bison and the European (wise) bison are the largest surviving terrestrial animals in North America and Europe. They are typical hooves with artiodactyl-type ungulates (cloven hooved) and are similar in appearance to other cattle, such as real cattle and buffaloes. They are wide and muscular, with long hair. Adults grow up to 2 metre tall and 3.5 meters long for American bison and up to 2.1 metres high and 2.9 metres (9 feet 6 inches) long for European bison. American bison can weigh from about 400 to 1,270 pounds (880 to 2,800 pounds), and European bison can weigh from 800 to 1,000 kg (1,800 to 2,200 lb). European bison are taller than American bison.

Bison are nomadic grazers and travel in herds. Bulls leave herds of females at the age of two or three and join a herd of males that are usually smaller than female herds. Mature bulls rarely travel alone. Towards the end of the summer, for the reproductive season, the sexes are necessarily mixed.

American bison are known to live in the Great Plains but previously had a much wider range, including much of the eastern United States and parts of Mexico. Both species were hunted near extinction in the 19th and 20th centuries but have since rebounded. The wisent in part of its survival to the Chernobyl disaster, as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone has become a kind of wildlife reserve and another rare megafauna, such as Przewalski’s horse, although poaching has become a threat in recent years.

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