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American bison
Bison bison
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Branch Deuterostomia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Class Mammalia
Sub-class Theriiformes
Infra-class Holotheria
Order Information
Superorder Preptotheria
Order Artiodactyla
Family Information
Family Bovidae
Sub-family Bovinae
Tribe Information
Tribe Bovini
Genus Information
Genus Bison
Population statistics
Population 30,000

Bison are wild cattle of the tribe Bovini, family Bovidae, and immediately characterized from any other species of cattle within that tribe by the presence of a shaggy head and forequarters.

At one time bison herds roamed the plains and valleys from western Canada down to Mexico, serving an important part of Native American culture and survival, but were almost hunted to extinction by European settlers by 1900; in Europe the herds - once the subject of prehistoric art on cave walls - were decimated by over-hunting and war. Conservation efforts during the 20th century managed to pull both species from the brink.


There are two living species of the genus Bison:

  • Bison bison, American bison, or American buffalo; North America
  • Bison bonasus, European bison, or wisent; eastern Europe

The following species are known only from fossilized or frozen remains, the latest extinction taking place ca. 3,000 B.C.

  • Bison antiquus, ancient bison
  • Bison latifrons, giant ice age bison
  • Bison occidentalis
  • Bison palaeosinensis
  • Bison priscus, steppe bison
  • Bison schoetensacki, woodland bison

See also