09 November 2017
I was considering what to do about the popular culture references today. There are a number of things that I could do, obviously, as we know that modern bison are something that the public is well aware of. I think, instead, that we should look at some documentaries which discuss the historical significance of bison as well as their current conservation status and situation. Though these documentaries do not specifically discuss the three species we have been discussing this week, the life history of extant bison is similar to that of their extinct family members and is therefore informative. The National Park Service covers a little history and their extant modern herds in the linked page. This second video, from the Kratt brothers (in their Wild Kratts series), may be a cartoon (mostly) but its appeal to the younger audience is not to be overlooked. The information that is given out in this video is useful, accurate, and does indeed go beyond it being a children's cartoon. There are also somewhat more traditional documentaries such as this "Fabulous Animals" show and Facing the Storm: the Story of the American Bison (which is movie length). I know that we are well away from extinct animals with these shows, but being able to see a modern descendant and how it lived on quite similar ground (ignoring the members of B. latifrons and B. antiquus found along the eastern seaboard) is important to trying to reconstruct the lives of the extinct animals.