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American Bison

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American Bison
American bison
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Genus: Bison
Binomial name
Bison bison
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Muybridge Buffalo galloping.gif

The American Bison (American Buffalo or just Buffalo) is a bovine mammal. Its name is something of a mistake (a 'misnomer') as it is only distantly related to the Water Buffalo and the African Buffalo.

Bison are a keystone species. Their staple foods are grasses and sedges. They once roamed the North American continent in great herds, and their grazing helped shape the ecology of the Great Plains. The bisons has a large head with relatively small, curving horns. Its dark brown coat is long and shaggy on the forequarters, including the front legs, neck, and shoulders, while the rest of the body has shorter, finer hair.

Although Bison once roamed across North America, bison are today ecologically extinct in most of their historic range. They live on in a few national parks and other small wildlife areas.


  1. Gates, C. & Aune, K (2008). Bison bison. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2008. Retrieved on November 10, 2008.Database entry includes a note of why this species has "near threatened" status.