Monday, January 9, 2012

Antique Bison

Bison antiquus fossil at the Page Museum
Meet the ancestor of the modern North American Bison- the Antique or Ancient Bison. These huge herbivores were some of the most common mammals found on the continent during the end of the last Ice Age.

Antique Bison themselves most likely evolved from the Eurasian Steppe Bison that had crossed over to North America through the Bering Land Bridge. The species then spread across the entire continent, and could be found from Canada to Mexico, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific, though they were most abundant in the American Southwest.

American Bison and Antique Bison share some differences. The Antique Bison had a larger body size overall, and was about 1/3 larger than its descendant. They also had much large shoulder humps, and longer horns.

Antique Bison went extinct around 10,000 years ago. The spread of the modern Bison most like contributed to their decline. Fossils have been found at numerous sites, sometimes with as many as 200 individuals at one location. This suggests that they were hunted in large numbers, which may have also been a cause of their extinction.

Status : Extinct for 10,000 years
Location : North America
Size : Shoulder height 7ft (2.1m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Artiodactyla
Family : Bovidae -- Genus : Bison -- Species : B. antiquus

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