:"This is an article about an animal. For other uses, see
name = Bison
image_width = 250px
American Bison("Bison bison")
image2_width = 250px
phylum = Chordata
genus = "Bison"
genus_authority = Hamilton Smith, 1827
subdivision = †"B. antiquus"
Bison is a taxonomic group containing six species of large
even-toed ungulates within the subfamily Bovinae. Only two of these species still exist: the American bison("B. bison") and the European bison, or wisent("B. bonasus"), each with two subspecies.
In American Western culture, the bison is commonly referred to as "buffalo"; however, this is a misnomer: though both bison and buffalo belong to the
Bovidaefamily, the term "buffalo" properly applies only to the Asian water buffalo and African buffalo. The gaur, a large, thick-coated oxfound in Asia, is also known as the "Indian bison", although it is in the genus " Bos" and thus not a true bison.
The American and European bison are the largest terrestrial
mammals in North Americaand Europe. Bison are nomadic grazersFact|date=March 2008 and travel in herds, except for the non-dominant bulls, which travel alone or in small groups during most of the year. American bison are known for living in the Great Plains. Both species were hunted close to extinctionduring the 19th and 20th centuries but have since rebounded, although the European bison is still endangered.
Unlike the Asian water buffalo, bison have never been
domesticated, although the American bison is kept on some farms.
Bison are born without their trademark hump and horns and live for approximately twenty years. They grow to maturity at two to three years, although males continue to grow until about their seventh year. Adult bulls express a high degree of dominance competitiveness during mating season. Male bison fight for females and these fights often result in injury or death. After the bison mate, the herd splits up into smaller herds. Calves are born nine months after mating. The
mothers take care of and nurse their young for a year.
Male bison grow to as much as to 11.5 feet (3.5m) long, and 6.5 feet (2m) tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 2200lbs (998 kg).
url = http://www.jstor.org/pss/3083019] In the process of wallowing bison may become infected by the fatal disease
anthrax, which may occur naturally in the soil.cite news | title = Anthrax kills bison in southern N.W.T. |publisher = CBC.CA| date = July 6 2006| url = http://www.cbc.ca/canada/north/story/2006/07/06/anthrax-nwt-bison.html]
Bison have a fairly simple diet. The bison's main
foodis grass. Bison also eat the low lying shrubbery that is available. In the winter, bison forage in the snowlooking for grass. If there is little grass available, bison have to resort to eating the twigs of the shrubs and plants.
Due to their large size few predators attack bison.
Wolfpacks, but not single wolves, could take down a bison. Brown bears will also prey on calves but when they are found eating bison they generally have driven off wolves and taken over their kill.
Yellowstone Parkthe strongest and most dominant wolf packs have been observed to take elkand deer; they leave the bison, which is much harder to kill, to the weaker wolf packsFact|date=August 2008.
* Water Buffalo
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo
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