STL Science Center

STL Science Center

05 November 2017

Three Sets of Information

My plan for this week is to, unlike other weeks, treat the three endemic species of North American bison as individual animals rather than discussing the genus as a single entity and pulling out interesting information regarding individual species. The reason we are approaching the information this way is because, other than overlap zones in the history of the genus, the three species are radically different morphologically and warrant their own attention as parts of the whole evolutionary history of the genus Bison. For a quick overview of fossil bison without reading the following paragraphs a short stop in the digital library of the San Diego Zoo may be all you need. To start, we will look at the three species in order of their history, meaning that B. latifrons is our first stop.

The artist Roman Uchytel is typically mentioned when we look at his illstrations and interpretations of paleofauna. Today, however, his art coincides includes a concise history of B. latifrons. His illustration, of course, is a nice addition to the information, but not the primary reason to follow this link to his website. Not to be outdone by the display shared yesterday from North Dakota, other states also have information on B. latifrons that were unearthed within their borders. Speaking to the range of the animal, there are also finds from San Diego and as far as Florida (B. antiquus is also mentioned on this site, attesting to its range as well) that are mentioned. This site shows and mentions the sale of fossils but such practices are not endorsed or encouraged here.

The intermediate species, B. occidentalis, also has space and information dedicated to it on Roman Uchytel's site. Again, his illustration is a positive bonus to the information provided. Most of the information is taken from Wikipedia, but that is not too important here. Bison occidentalis is not as well known as B. latifrons or B. antiquus, and most of the information online about this species is actually in the form of descriptive papers, which we will save for Tuesday.

As with the previous two species, B. antiquus has been illustrated by Roman Uchytel and he has paraphrased information from Wikipedia. Placing the three side by side is informative and interesting in its own right actually, so it might be worth the momentary effort. Bison antiquus has a few more resources online. This is partially due to its more recent history and of course to those resources being studied a little more in depth than the other fossil species. In addition to Florida and the western part of the North America, there are specimens of B. antiquus known from Ontario, Canada, Texas, and Florida.

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