Bison are large, even-toed ungulates in the genus Bison within the subfamily Bovinae.

Two extant and six extinct species are recognised. Of the six extinct species, five became extinct in the Quaternary extinction event. Bison palaeosinensis evolved in the Early Pleistocene in South Asia, and was the evolutionary ancestor of B. priscus (steppe bison), which was the ancestor of all other Bison species. From 2 MYA to 6,000 BC, steppe bison ranged across the mammoth steppe, inhabiting Europe and northern Asia with B. schoetensacki (woodland bison), and North America with B. antiquus, B. latifrons, and B. occidentalis. The last species to go extinct, B. occidentalis, was succeeded at 3,000 BC by B. bison.

Of the two surviving species, the American bison, B. bison, found only in North America, is the more numerous. Although commonly known as a buffalo in the United States and Canada,[2] it is only distantly related to the true buffalo. The North American species is composed of two subspecies, the Plains bison, B. b. bison, and the 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, being a junior synonym of B. b. bison.[3] References to "Woods Bison" or "Wood Bison" from the eastern United States confusingly refer to this subspecies, not B. b. athabascae, which was not found in the region. The European bison, B. bonasus, or wisent, is found in Europe and the Caucasus, reintroduced after being extinct in the wild.

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

Temporal range: 2–0 Ma
Early Pleistocene – Recent
American bison k5680-1
American bison
(Bison bison)
Bison bonasus (Linnaeus 1758)
European bison
(Bison bonasus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Bovinae
Subtribe: Bovina
Genus: Bison
Hamilton Smith, 1827


Bison on plaque Bedeilhac grottoe Ariege
Magdalenian bison on plaque, 17,000–9,000 BC, Bédeilhac grottoe, Ariège

The American bison and the European bison (wisent) are the largest surviving terrestrial animals in North America and Europe. They are typical artiodactyl (cloven hooved) ungulates, and are similar in appearance to other bovines such as cattle and true buffalo. They are broad and muscular with shaggy coats of long hair. Adults grow to approximately 2 to 3.5 metres (6 ft 7 in to 11 ft 6 in) in length and can weigh from approximately 300 kilograms (660 lb) in smaller cows, up to 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) in large bulls. American bison tend to be slightly heavier than European bison, while European bison tend to be taller than American bison.

Bison are nomadic grazers and travel in herds. The bulls leave the herds of females at two or three years of age, and join a male herd, which are generally smaller than female herds. Mature bulls rarely travel alone. Towards the end of the summer, for the reproductive season, the sexes necessarily commingle.[4]

American bison are known for living in the Great Plains, but formerly had a much larger range including much of the eastern United States and parts of Mexico. Both species were hunted close to extinction during the 19th and 20th centuries, but have since rebounded; the wisent owing its survival, in part, to the Chernobyl Disaster, ironically, as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone has become a kind of wildlife preserve for wisent and other rare megafauna such as the Przewalski's Horse, though poaching has become a threat in recent years.[5] The American Plains bison is no longer listed as endangered, but this does not mean the species is secure. Genetically pure B. b. bison currently number only ~20,000, separated into fragmented herds—all of which require active conservation measures.[6] The Wood bison is on the endangered species list in Canada[7] and is listed as threatened in the United States, though there have been numerous attempts by beefalo ranchers to have it entirely removed from the Endangered Species List.[8]

Bison skeleton taxidermy mount
A museum display shows the full skeleton of an adult male American Bison

Although superficially similar, physical and behavioural differences exist between the American and European bison. The American species has 15 ribs, while the European bison has 14. The American bison has four lumbar vertebrae, while the European has five.[9] (The difference in this case is that what would be the first lumbar vertebra has ribs attached to it in American bison and is thus counted as the 15th thoracic vertebra, compared to 14 thoracic vertebrae in wisent.) Adult American bison are less slim in build and have shorter legs.[10] American bison tend to graze more, and browse less than their European relatives. Their anatomies reflect this behavioural difference; the American bison's head hangs lower than the European's. The body of the American bison is typically hairier, though its tail has less hair than that of the European bison. The horns of the European bison point through the plane of their faces, making them more adept at fighting through the interlocking of horns in the same manner as domestic cattle, unlike the American bison, which favours butting.[11] American bison are more easily tamed than their European cousins, and breed with domestic cattle more readily.[12]

Evolution and genetic history

The bovine tribe (Bovini) split about 5 to 10 million years ago into the buffalos (Bubalus and Syncerus) and a group leading to bison and taurine cattle.[13] Thereafter, the family lineage of bison and taurine cattle does not appear to be a straightforward "tree" structure as is often depicted in much evolution, because evidence of interbreeding and crossbreeding is seen between different species and members within this family, even many millions of years after their ancestors separated into different species. This crossbreeding was not sufficient to conflate the different species back together, but it has resulted in unexpected relationships between many members of this group, such as yak being related to American bison, when such relationships would otherwise not be apparent.

A 2003 study of mitochondrial DNA indicated four distinct maternal lineages in tribe Bovini:

  1. Taurine cattle and zebu
  2. Wisent
  3. American bison and yak[14] and
  4. Banteng, gaur, and gayal

However, Y chromosome analysis associated wisent and American bison.[15] An earlier study using amplified fragment length polymorphism fingerprinting showed a close association of wisent with American bison, and probably with the yak, but noted that the interbreeding of Bovini species made determining relationships problematic.[16]

The genus Bison diverged from the lineage that led to cattle (Bos primigenius) at the Plio-Pleistocene boundary in South Asia.[17] Two extant and six extinct species are recognised. Of the six extinct species, five went extinct in the Quaternary extinction event. Three were North American endemics: Bison antiquus, B. latifrons, and B. occidentalis. The fourth, B. priscus (steppe bison), ranged across steppe environments from Western Europe, through Central Asia, East Asia including Japan,[18][19] and onto North America. The fifth, B. schoetensacki (woodland bison), inhabited Eurasian forests, extending from western Europe to the south of Siberia.[20]

Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain-110113
Bisons depicted at Cave of Altamira

The sixth, B. palaeosinensis, evolving in the Early Pleistocene in South Asia,[17] is presumed to have been the evolutionary ancestor of B. priscus and all successive Bison lineages.[21] The steppe bison (B. priscus) evolved from Bison palaeosinensis in the Early Pleistocene. B. priscus is seen clearly in the fossil record around 2 million years ago.[22] The steppe bison spread across Eurasia, and all proceeding contemporary and successive species are believed to have derived from the steppe bison. Going extinct in 6,000 BCE,[23] outlasted only by B. occidentalis, B. bonasus and B. bison, the steppe bison was the predominant bison pictured in the ancient cave paintings of Spain and Southern France.

The modern European bison is likely to have arisen from the steppe bison. There is no direct fossil evidence of successive species between the steppe bison and the European bison, though there are three possible lines of ancestry pertaining to the European wisent. Past research has suggested that the European bison is descended from bison that had migrated from Asia to North America, and then back to Europe, where they crossbred with existing steppe bison.[22] However, more recent phylogenetic research points to an origin either from the phenotypically and genetically similar Pleistocene woodland bison (B. schoetensacki)[20] or as the result of an interbreeding event between the steppe bison and the aurochs (Bos primigenius), the ancestor of domesticated cattle, around 120,000 years ago.[24] The possible hybrid is referred to in vernacular as the 'Higgs bison' as a hat-tip to the discovery process of the Higgs boson.[25]

At one point, some steppe bison crossbred with the ancestors of the modern yak. After that crossbreeding, a population of steppe bison crossed the Bering Land Bridge to North America. The steppe bison spread through the northern parts of North America and lived in Eurasia until around 11,000 years ago[26] and North America until 4,000 to 8,000 years ago.[22]

The Pleistocene woodland bison (B.schoetensacki) evolved in the Middle Pleistocene from B. priscus, and tended to inhabit the dry conifer forests and woodland which lined the mammoth steppe, occupying a range from western Europe to the south of Siberia. Although their fossil records are far rarer than their antecedent, they are thought to have existed until at least 36,000 BCE.[20][17]

Bison latifrons (the "giant" or "longhorn" bison) is thought to have evolved in midcontinent North America from B. priscus, after the steppe bison crossed into North America.[27][28][29] Giant bison (B. latifrons) appeared in the fossil record about 120,000 years ago.[22] B. latifrons was one of many species of North American megafauna that became extinct during the transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene epoch (an event referred to as the Quaternary extinction event). It is thought to have disappeared some 21,000–30,000 years ago, during the late Wisconsin glaciation.[30]

B. latifrons co-existed with the slightly smaller B. antiquus for over 100,000 years. Their predecessor, the steppe bison appeared in the North American fossil record around 190,000 years ago.[31] B. latifrons is believed to have been a more woodland-dwelling, non-herding species, while B. antiquus was a herding grassland-dweller, very much like its descendant B. bison.[32] B. antiquus gave rise to both B. occidentalis, and later B. bison, the modern American bison, some 5,000 to 10,000 years ago.[33][34] B. antiquus was the most common megafaunal species on the North American continent during much of the Late Pleistocene and is the most commonly found large animal found at the La Brea Tar Pits.[35]

In 2016, DNA extracted from Bison priscus fossil remains beneath a 130,000-year-old volcanic ashfall in the Yukon suggested recent arrival of the species. That genetic material indicated that all American bison had a common ancestor 135,000 to 195,000 years ago, during which period the Bering Land Bridge was exposed; this hypothesis precludes an earlier arrival. The researchers sequenced mitochondrial genomes from both that specimen and from the remains of a recently discovered, estimated 120,000-year-old giant, long-horned, B. latifrons from Snowmass, Colorado. The genetic information also indicated that a second, Pleistocene migration of bison over the land bridge occurred 21,000 to 45,000 years ago.[36][37]

Skulls of European bison (left) and American bison (right)

During the population bottleneck, after the great slaughter of American bison during the 19th century, the number of bison remaining alive in North America declined to as low as 541. During that period, a handful of ranchers gathered remnants of the existing herds to save the species from extinction. These ranchers bred some of the bison with cattle in an effort to produce "cattleo"[38] (today called "beefalo") Accidental crossings were also known to occur. Generally, male domestic bulls were crossed with buffalo cows, producing offspring of which only the females were fertile. The crossbred animals did not demonstrate any form of hybrid vigor, so the practice was abandoned. Wisent-American bison hybrids were briefly experimented with in Germany (and found to be fully fertile) and a herd of such animals is maintained in Russia. A herd of cattle-wisent crossbreeds (zubron) is maintained in Poland. First-generation crosses do not occur naturally, requiring caesarean delivery. First-generation males are infertile. The U.S. National Bison Association has adopted a code of ethics that prohibits its members from deliberately crossbreeding bison with any other species. In the United States, many ranchers are now using DNA testing to cull the residual cattle genetics from their bison herds. The proportion of cattle DNA that has been measured in introgressed individuals and bison herds today is typically quite low, ranging from 0.56 to 1.8%.[38][39]

There are also remnant purebred American bison herds on public lands in North America. Herds of importance are found in Yellowstone National Park, Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota, Blue Mounds State Park in Minnesota, Elk Island National Park in Alberta, Canada and Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan, Canada. In 2015 a purebred herd of 350 individuals was identified on public lands in the Henry Mountains of southern Utah via genetic testing of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA.[40] This study, published in 2015, also showed the Henry Mountains bison herd to be free of brucellosis, a bacterial disease that was imported with non-native domestic cattle to North America.[41]


Muybridge Buffalo galloping
A group of images by Eadweard Muybridge, set to motion to illustrate the movement of the bison
Buffalo charges Elk near old faithful - panoramio
A bison charges an elk in Yellowstone National Park.

Wallowing is a common behavior of bison. A bison wallow is a shallow depression in the soil, either wet or dry. Bison roll in these depressions, covering themselves with mud or dust. Possible explanations suggested for wallowing behavior include grooming behavior associated with moulting, male-male interaction (typically rutting behavior), social behavior for group cohesion, play behavior, relief from skin irritation due to biting insects, reduction of ectoparasite load (ticks and lice), and thermoregulation.[42] In the process of wallowing, bison may become infected by the fatal disease anthrax, which may occur naturally in the soil.[43]

Bison temperament is often unpredictable. They usually appear peaceful, unconcerned, even lazy, yet they may attack anything, often without warning or apparent reason. They can move at speeds up to 35 mph (56 km/h) and cover long distances at a lumbering gallop.[44]

Their most obvious weapons are the horns borne by both males and females, but their massive heads can be used as battering rams, effectively using the momentum produced by what is a typical weight of 2,000 pounds (900 kg) (can be up to 2700 lbs) moving at 30 mph (50 km/h). The hind legs can also be used to kill or maim with devastating effect. In the words of early naturalists, they were dangerous, savage animals that feared no other animal and in prime condition could best any foe[44] (except for wolves and brown bears[4][45]).

The rutting, or mating, season lasts from June through September, with peak activity in July and August. At this time, the older bulls rejoin the herd, and fights often take place between bulls. The herd exhibits much restlessness during breeding season. The animals are belligerent, unpredictable, and most dangerous.[44]


The last of the Canadian buffaloes Photo No 580 (HS85-10-13487)
"Last of the Canadian Buffaloes", 1902, photograph: Steele and Company

American bison live in river valleys, and on prairies and plains. Typical habitat is open or semiopen grasslands, as well as sagebrush, semiarid lands, and scrublands. Some lightly wooded areas are also known historically to have supported bison. They also graze in hilly or mountainous areas where the slopes are not steep. Though not particularly known as high-altitude animals, bison in the Yellowstone Park bison herd are frequently found at elevations above 8,000 feet and the Henry Mountains bison herd is found on the plains around the Henry Mountains, Utah, as well as in mountain valleys of the Henry Mountains to an altitude of 10,000 feet.

European bison tend to live in lightly wooded to fully wooded areas and areas with increased shrubs and bushes, though they can also live on grasslands and plains.


Throughout most of their historical range, landowners have sought restrictions on free-ranging bison. Herds on private land are required to be fenced in.[46] In the state of Montana, free-ranging bison on public lands may be shot, due to concerns about transmission of disease to cattle and damage to public property.[47] In 2013, Montana legislative measures concerning the bison were proposed and passed the legislature, but opposed by Native American tribes as they impinged on sovereign tribal rights. Three such bills were vetoed by Steve Bullock, the governor of Montana. The bison's circumstances remain an issue of contention between Native American tribes and private landowners.[48]


Elk and Bison inYellowstone, Wyoming
A bison and an elk grazing together in the Yellowstone National Park.

Bison are ruminants, which allows them to derive their energy from cell walls. Bison were once thought to almost exclusively consume grasses and sedges, but are now known to consume a wide-variety of plants including woody plants and herbaceous eudicots.[49][50] Over the course of the year, bison shift which plants they select in their diet based on which plants have the highest protein or energy concentrations at a given time and will reliably consume the same species of plants across years.[49] Protein concentrations of the plants they eat tend to be highest in the spring and decline thereafter, reaching their lowest in the winter.[49] In Yellowstone National Park, bison browsed willows and cottonwoods, not only in the winter when few other plants are available, but also in the summer.[51] Bison are thought to migrate to optimize their diet,[52] and will concentrate their feeding on recently burned areas due to the higher quality forage the regrows after the burn.[53] Wisent tend to browse on shrubs and low-hanging trees more often than do the American bison, which prefer grass to shrubbery and trees.[54]


Female bison typically do not reproduce until three years of age[55] and can reproduce to at least 19 years of age.[56] Female bison can produce calves annually as long as their nutrition is sufficient, but will not give birth to a calf after years where weight gain was too low. A mother's probability of reproduction the following year is strongly dependent on the mother's mass and age.[56] Heavier female bison produce heavier calves (weighed in the fall at weaning) than light mothers, while the weight of calves is lower for older mothers (after age 8).[56]


Journal.pone.0112884.g001 a
Wolves hunting bison

Due to their size, bison have few predators. Five notable exceptions are humans, the wolf, mountain lion, brown bear, and coyote.[57] The grey wolf generally takes down a bison while in a pack, but cases of a single wolf killing bison have been reported.[45] Brown bear also consume bison, often by driving off the pack and consuming the wolves' kill.[4] Brown bear and coyotes also prey on bison calves. Historically and prehistorically, lions, tigers, Smilodon, Homotherium, cave hyenas and Homo sp. had posed threats to bison.

Infections and illness

For the American bison, the main cause of illness is malignant catarrhal fever,[58] though brucellosis is a serious concern in the Yellowstone Park bison herd. Bison in the Antelope Island bison herd are regularly inoculated against brucellosis, parasites, Clostridium infection, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, and bovine vibriosis.[59]

The major concerns for illness in European bison are foot-and-mouth disease and balanoposthitis, which affects the male sex organs; a number of parasitic diseases have also been cited as threats.[60] The inbreeding of the species caused by the small population plays a role in a number of genetic defects and immunity to diseases, which in turn poses greater risks to the population.[60]


The term "buffalo" is sometimes considered to be a misnomer for this animal, as it is only distantly related to either of the two "true buffalo", the Asian water buffalo and the African buffalo. Samuel de Champlain applied the term buffalo (buffles in French) to the bison in 1616 (published 1619), after seeing skins and a drawing shown to him by members of the Nipissing First Nation, who said they travelled forty days (from east of Lake Huron) to trade with another nation who hunted the animals.[61] Though "bison" might be considered more scientifically correct, as a result of standard usage, "buffalo" is also considered correct and is listed in many dictionaries as an acceptable name for American buffalo or bison. Buffalo has a much longer history than bison, which was first recorded in 1774.[62]

Human impact

Bison skull pile edit
Photo from the 1870s of a pile of American bison skulls waiting to be ground for fertilizer.

Humans were almost exclusively accountable for the near-extinction of the American bison in the 1800s. At the beginning of the century, tens of millions of bison roamed North America. American settlers slaughtered an estimated 50 million bison during the 19th century.[63] Railroads were advertising "hunting by rail", where trains encountered large herds alongside or crossing the tracks. Men aboard fired from the trains roof or windows, leaving countless animals to rot where they died.[64] The overhunting of the bison reduced their population to hundreds.[65] Attempts to revive the American bison have been highly successful; farming has increased their population to nearly 150,000. The American bison is, therefore, no longer considered an endangered species.[65]

As of July 2015, an estimated 4,900 bison lived in Yellowstone National Park, the largest U.S. bison population on public land.[66] During 1983–1985 visitors experienced 33 bison-related injuries (range = 10–13/year), so the park implemented education campaigns. After years of success, five injuries associated with bison encounters occurred in 2015, because visitors did not maintain the required distance of 75 ft (23 m) from bison while hiking or taking pictures.[67]


Bison is an excellent source of complete protein and a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of multiple vitamins including Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 and is also a rich source of minerals including iron, phosphorus, and zinc. Additionally, bison is a good source (10% or more of the Daily Value) of thiamine.


Bison are increasingly raised for meat, hide, wool, and dairy products. The majority of bison in the world are raised for human consumption or fur clothing. Bison meat is generally considered to taste very similar to beef, but is lower in fat and cholesterol, yet higher in protein than beef, which has led to the development of beefalo, a fertile hybrid of bison and domestic cattle. A market even exists for kosher bison meat; these bison are slaughtered at one of the few kosher mammal slaughterhouses in the U.S. and Canada, and the meat is then distributed worldwide.[68][69][70]

In America, the commercial industry for bison has been slow to develop despite individuals, such as Ted Turner, who have long marketed bison meat. In the 1990s, Turner found limited success with restaurants for high-quality cuts of meat, which include bison steaks and tenderloin.[71] Lower-quality cuts suitable for hamburger and hot dogs have been described as "almost nonexistent".[71] This created a marketing problem for commercial farming because the majority of usable meat, about 400 pounds for each bison, is suitable for these products.[71] In 2003, the United States Department of Agriculture purchased $10 million worth of frozen overstock to save the industry, which would later recover through better use of consumer marketing.[72] Restaurants have played a role in popularizing bison meat, like Ted's Montana Grill, which added bison to their menus. Ruby Tuesday first offered bison on their menus in 2005.[72]

In Canada, commercial bison farming began in the mid 1980s, concerning an unknown number of animals then.[70] The first census of the bison occurred in 1996, which recorded 45,235 bison on 745 farms, and grew to 195,728 bison on 1,898 farms for the 2006 census.[70]

Several pet food companies use bison as a red meat alternative in dog foods. The companies producing these formulas include Natural Balance Pet Foods, Freshpet, The Blue Buffalo Company, Solid Gold, Canidae, and Taste of the Wild.

See also


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Further reading

  • Boyd, D (2003) "Conservation of North American Bison: Status and Recommendations." Master's dissertation, University of Calgary
  • Cunfer, Geoff and Bill Waiser. Bison and People on the North American Great Plains: A Deep Environmental History. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2016.
  • Halbert, N; Derr, J (1995). "A Comprehensive Evaluation of Cattle Introgression into US Federal Bison Herds". Journal of Heredity. 98 (1).
  • Nesheim, David A (2012). "Profit, Preservation, and Shifting Definitions of Bison in American". Environmental History. 17 (3): 547–77. doi:10.1093/envhis/ems048.
  • Ward, T. J.; Bielawski, J. P.; Davis, S. K.; Templeton, J. W.; Derr, J. N. (1999). "Identification of Domestic Cattle Hybrids in Wild Cattle and Bison Species: A General Approach Using mtDNA Markers and the Parametric Bootstrap". Animal Conservation. 2: 51–57. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1795.1999.tb00048.x.

External links

American bison

The American bison or simply bison (Bison bison), also commonly known as the American buffalo or simply buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed North America in vast herds. Their historical range, by 9000 BC, is described as the great bison belt, a tract of rich grassland that ran from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico, east to the Atlantic Seaboard (nearly to the Atlantic tidewater in some areas) as far north as New York and south to Georgia and per some sources down to Florida, with sightings in North Carolina near Buffalo Ford on the Catawba River as late as 1750.. They became nearly extinct by a combination of commercial hunting and slaughter in the 19th century and introduction of bovine diseases from domestic cattle. With a population in excess of 60 million in the late 18th century, the species was down to 541 animals by 1889. Recovery efforts expanded in the mid-20th century, with a resurgence to roughly 31,000 animals today, largely restricted to a few national parks and reserves.

Two subspecies or ecotypes have been described: the plains bison (B. b. bison), smaller in size and with a more rounded hump, and the wood bison (B. b. athabascae)—the larger of the two and having a taller, square hump. Furthermore, the plains bison has been suggested to consist of a northern plains (B. b. montanae) and a southern plains (B. b. bison) subspecies, bringing the total to three. However, this is generally not supported. The wood bison is one of the largest wild species of bovid in the world, surpassed by only the Asian gaur and wild water buffalo. It is the heaviest, and second tallest extant land animal after moose in the Americas.

The American bison is the national mammal of the United States.


Beefalo, also referred to as cattalo or the Canadian hybrid, are a fertile hybrid offspring of domestic cattle (Bos taurus), usually a male in managed breeding programs, and the American bison (Bison bison), usually a female in managed breeding programs. The breed was created to combine the characteristics of both animals for beef production.

Beefalo are primarily cattle in genetics and appearance, with the breed association defining a full Beefalo as one with three-eighths (37.5%) bison genetics, while animals with higher percentages of bison genetics are called "bison hybrids".

Bethany College (West Virginia)

Bethany College is a private, liberal arts college in Bethany, West Virginia, United States. Founded in 1840 by Alexander Campbell of the Restoration Movement, who gained support by the Virginia legislature, Bethany College was the first institution of higher education in what is now West Virginia.

Bison (armoured personnel carrier)

The Bison is an armoured personnel carrier based on the 8x8 LAV-25 platform, and was produced by General Motors Diesel Division (now General Dynamics Land Systems Canada) in London, Ontario. They were purchased and intended for operation by the Canadian Forces Primary Reserve, but were rapidly appropriated by the regular force of the Canadian Army.


The biological subfamily Bovinae includes a diverse group of 10 genera of medium to large-sized ungulates, including domestic cattle, bison, African buffalo, the water buffalo, the yak, and the four-horned and spiral-horned antelopes. The evolutionary relationship between the members of the group is still debated, and their classification into loose tribes rather than formal subgroups reflects this uncertainty. General characteristics include cloven hooves and usually at least one of the sexes of a species having true horns. The largest extant bovine is the gaur.

In many countries, bovid milk and meat is used as food. Cattle are kept as livestock almost everywhere except in parts of India and Nepal where they are considered sacred by most Hindus. Bovids are used as draft animals and as riding animals. Small breeds of bovid, such as the Miniature Zebu, are kept as pets.

Bucknell Bison

The Bucknell Bison are the athletic teams that represent Bucknell University. The program is a member of the Patriot League for most NCAA Division I sports and Division I FCS in football.

Bucknell Bison football

The Bucknell Bison football team represents Bucknell University in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) level. Bucknell is a member of the Patriot League. Bucknell won the first Orange Bowl, 26–0, over the Miami Hurricanes on January 1, 1935.

Bucknell Bison men's basketball

The Bucknell Bison men's basketball team represents Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania in NCAA Division I competition. The school's team competes in the Patriot League and plays home games in Sojka Pavilion.Bucknell began varsity intercollegiate competition in men's basketball in 1896. The Bison were retroactively recognized as the pre-NCAA Tournament national champion for the 1900–01 season by the Premo-Porretta Power Poll.

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo." is a grammatically correct sentence in American English, often presented as an example of how homonyms and homophones can be used to create complicated linguistic constructs through lexical ambiguity. It has been discussed in literature in various forms since 1967, when it appeared in Dmitri Borgmann's Beyond Language: Adventures in Word and Thought.

The sentence employs three distinct meanings of the word buffalo:

as a proper noun to refer to a specific place named Buffalo, the city of Buffalo, New York being the most notable;

as a verb (uncommon in regular usage) to buffalo, meaning "to bully, harass, or intimidate" or "to baffle"; and

as a noun to refer to the animal, bison (often called buffalo in North America). The plural is also buffalo.More easily decoded, though semantically equivalent, would be: Bison from Buffalo that other bison from Buffalo bully [themselves] bully bison from Buffalo.

Buffalo jump

A buffalo jump is a cliff formation which Native Americans historically used to hunt and kill plains bison in mass quantities.

European bison

The European bison (Bison bonasus), also known as wisent ( or ) or the European wood bison, is a Eurasian species of bison. It is one of two extant species of bison, alongside the American bison. Three subspecies existed in the recent past, but only one survives today. Analysis of mitochondrial genomes and nuclear DNA revealed that the wisent is theoretically the result of hybridization between the extinct Steppe bison (Bison priscus) and the ancestors of the aurochs (Bos primigenius) since their genetic material contains up to 10% aurochs genomic ancestry; the possible hybrid is referred to informally as the Higgs bison, a play-on-words in reference to the Higgs boson. Alternatively, the Pleistocene woodland bison has been suggested as the ancestor to the species.European bison were hunted to extinction in the wild in the early 20th century, with the last wild animals of the B. b. bonasus subspecies being shot in the Białowieża Forest (on the Belarus-Poland border) in 1921, and the last of B. b. caucasus in the northwestern Caucasus in 1927. B. b. hungarorum was hunted to extinction in the mid-1800s. The Białowieża or lowland European bison was kept alive in captivity, and has since been reintroduced into several countries in Europe. They are now forest-dwelling. The species has had few recent predators besides humans, with only scattered reports from the 19th century of wolf and bear predation. European bison were first scientifically described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. Some later descriptions treat the European bison as conspecific with the American bison. It is not to be confused with the aurochs, the extinct ancestor of domestic cattle.

In 1996, the International Union for Conservation of Nature classified the European bison as an endangered species. Its status has since been changed to being a vulnerable species. In the past, especially during the Middle Ages, it was commonly killed for its hide and to produce drinking horns.

The European bison is the national animal of Poland and Belarus.

Game drive system

A game drive system was a prehistoric hunting strategy where game were herded into areas where they could be hunted in groups. Once a site was identified or manipulated to be used as a game drive site, it would be well-used over the years as temporary, seasonal hunting camps.


The gaur (, Bos gaurus), also called the Indian bison, is the largest extant bovine. This species is native to South and Southeast Asia. It has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1986. Population decline in parts of its range is likely to be more than 70% during the last three generations. However, population trends are stable in well-protected areas, and are rebuilding in a few areas which previously had been neglected.The gaur is the tallest of wild cattle species.The Malayan gaur is called seladang, and the Burmese gaur is called pyoung ပြောင်.

The domesticated form of the gaur is called gayal (Bos frontalis) or mithun.

Howard Bison

The Howard Bison are the intercollegiate athletic teams representing Howard University in Washington, DC. The Bison compete in the NCAA's Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference for most sports. On July 16, 2015, the Athletics Department unveiled new logos.

M. Bison

M. Bison, also known as Dictator, or Mr. Bison in Norway is a video game character created by Capcom. First introduced in Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, he is a recurring character and villain in the Street Fighter series of fighting games, acting as one of the series' primary antagonists.

A would-be world dictator and megalomaniac, M. Bison's ultimate ambition is to control the world's governments through his covert crime syndicate, Shadaloo (シャドルー, Shadorū, sometimes spelled as "Shadoloo", "Shadowloo" or "Shadowlaw"). He hosts Street Fighter II's fighting tournament and is the last opponent fought in the game. Throughout the series, several characters—including Ryu, Guile, T. Hawk, Cammy, Rose and Chun-Li—have their personal vendettas against M. Bison and have entered the tournament in the hopes of facing him personally. M. Bison wields an inherently evil energy known as "Psycho Power", in contrast to Ryu and Ken's "Hadou".

North Dakota State Bison

The North Dakota State Bison is the name of the athletic teams of North Dakota State University (NDSU), which is located in the city of Fargo, North Dakota. The teams are often called the "Thundering Herd". The current logo is a bison.

North Dakota State Bison football

The North Dakota State Bison football program represents North Dakota State University in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision level and competes in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The Bison play in the 19,000 seat Fargodome located in Fargo. The Bison have won fifteen national championships and 35 conference championships. They won five-consecutive NCAA Division I FCS National Championships between 2011 and 2015 as well as two more in 2017 and 2018. NDSU is the only college football program to ever win five consecutive NCAA national championships, and the only football program to win seven FCS titles.

Since 2011, the North Dakota State Bison have a record of 112–8 (.933) which included a record 22 game playoff win streak, making them the most successful college football program in Division I this decade. The Bison are 166–35 (.826) since moving to Division I in 2004. Since 1964, the Bison have had only 3 losing seasons and an overall record of 515–137–4 (.788) through that 53-year span, one of the best in all of college football. North Dakota State currently has more all-time program wins than any non-Ivy League FCS program, over 700. Of all teams established after 1894, only Oklahoma has won a higher percentage of its games than NDSU. The team also has the record for the longest winning streak in FCS, which stands at 33 consecutive games spanning from 2012 to 2014. It is also tied for the 3rd longest streak in NCAA football during the past 50 years.In the final AP Football Poll of the 2013–14 season; after their third consecutive National Championship, North Dakota State finished with 17 votes which ranked them at #29 in all of D-I football, the highest end-of-season ranking of any team in the history of FCS football. After defeating 13th-ranked (FBS) Iowa in 2016, the Bison earned 74 votes and a #27 ranking in the entire D-I field, overtaking their previous record to become the highest-ranked FCS team of all time.


In zoological nomenclature, a trinomen (plural: trinomina), trinominal name, or ternary name, refers to the name of a subspecies. For example: "Gorilla gorilla gorilla" (Savage, 1847) for the western lowland gorilla (genus Gorilla, species western gorilla). Also, "Bison bison bison" (Linnaeus, 1758) for the plains bison (genus Bison, species American bison).

A trinomen is a name with three parts: generic name, specific name and subspecific name. The first two parts alone form the binomen or species name. All three names are typeset in italics, and only the first letter of the generic name is capitalised. No indicator of rank is included: in zoology, subspecies is the only rank below that of species. For example: "Buteo jamaicensis borealis is one of the subspecies of the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)."

In a taxonomic publication, a name is incomplete without an author citation and publication details. This indicates who published the name, in what publication, and the date of the publication.

For example: "Phalacrocorax carbo novaehollandiae (Stephens, 1826)" denotes a subspecies of the great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) introduced by James Francis Stephens in 1826 under the subspecies name novaehollandiae ("of New Holland").

If the generic and specific name have already been mentioned in the same paragraph, they are often abbreviated to initial letters. For example one might write: "The great cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo has a distinct subspecies in Australasia, the black shag P. c. novaehollandiae".

While binomial nomenclature came into being and immediately gained widespread acceptance in the mid-18th century, it was not until the early 20th century that the current unified standard of trinominal nomenclature was agreed upon. This became the standard mainly because of tireless promotion by Elliott Coues – even though trinomina in the modern usage were pioneered in 1828 by Carl Friedrich Bruch and around 1850 was widely used especially by Hermann Schlegel and John Cassin. As late as the 1930s, the use of trinomina was not fully established in all fields of zoology. Thus, when referring especially European works of the preceding era, the nomenclature used is usually not in accord with contemporary standards.

University of Nebraska Press

The University of Nebraska Press, also known as UNP, was founded in 1941 and is an academic publisher of scholarly and general-interest books. The press is under the auspices of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the main campus of the University of Nebraska system. UNP publishes primarily non-fiction books and academic journals, in both print and electronic editions. The press has particularly strong publishing programs in Native American studies, Western American history, sports, world and national affairs, and military history. The press has also been active in reprinting classic books from various genres, including science fiction and fantasy.

Since its inception, UNP has published more than 4,000 books and 30 journals, adding another 150 new titles each year, making it the 12th largest university press in the United States. Since 2010, two of UNP's books have received the Bancroft Prize, the highest honor bestowed on history books in the U.S.

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