Bison antiquus

Bison antiquus, otherwise known as the antique bison, was the most common large plant-eating mammal in North America for more than ten thousand years. Between 240,000 and 220,000 years ago, during the late Pleistocene era, steppe wisent (Bison priscus) migrated from Siberia and to Alaska, and eventually was replaced in mid North America by Bison latifrons. From this species, the antique bison branched out and existed until around ten thousand years ago. The modern Bison came from this species. Bison antiquus had such huge numbers during its time that now they are the most frequently found herbivorous mammals in the La Brea tar pits. Larger than the modern bison by fifteen to twenty percent, the antique bison had horns that could reach a length of up to three feet.

One site produced over five hundred semi-fossilized specimens of the antique bison, along with a large number of paleo-Indian spear and projectile points. It is thought that this large number of recovered bison in the same area may have been the result of an Indian hunting attack, or perhaps that the bison died due to natural causes. These specimens range in sex and age, and can be viewed on the Hudson-Meng archeological website.

Image Caption: Bison antiquus, La Brea Tar Pits. Credit: David Monniaux/Wikipedia(CC BY-SA 3.0)