Ancestors and Relatives

Dale F. Lott

in American Bison

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780520233386
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930742 | DOI:
Ancestors and Relatives

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Every species has a history, and that history is a part of the species as much as an individual's history is a part of the individual. It both creates and limits the species' possibilities. This chapter, on ancestors and relatives, traces the bison lineage, especially in North America, and establishes the place of the modern species Bison bison, which emerged only about 5,000 years ago. The first bison to cross Beringia were not the first bison. Bison branched off from the primitive cow family line — Leptobos — about a million years ago. The first bison were small-bodied, small-horned, fast-moving residents of forest edges and meadows. Gradually, the bison line became northern specialists, able to live where other cattle couldn't. They also became open grassland specialists.

Keywords: bison history; Bison bison; bison lineage; North America; Leptobos

Chapter.  3198 words. 

Subjects: Biological Sciences

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