|Scientific name :||Bison bison|
|Time period :||Late Pleistocene Epoch-Holocene Epoch|
|Primary diet :||Herbivore|
|In the programmes|
|Appearances :||Walking with Beasts (Mammoth Journey)|
|In the books|
The Bison is a bovid mammal or a species of wild cattle.
Bison are large, even-toed ungulates in the genus Bison within the subfamily Bovinae.
There are two extant and four extinct species recognized. Of the four extinct species, three were North American: Bison antiquus, B. latifrons, and B. occidentalis. The fourth, Bison priscus, ranged across steppe environments from Western Europe, through Central Asia, and onto North America.
There are two surviving species: the American bison, Bison bison, found only in North America, is the most numerous. (Although sometimes referred to as a "buffalo," it is only distantly related to the true buffalo.) The North American species is composed of two subspecies, the plains bison, Bison bison bison, and the wood bison, Bison bison athabascae, which is the namesake of Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada. The European bison, Bison bonasus, or wisent is found in Europe and the Caucasus, re-introduced after being extinct in the wild.
While all bison species are usually grouped into their own genus, they are sometimes included in the closely related genus Bos, together with cattle, gaur, kouprey and yaks, with which bison have a limited ability to interbreed.
In Walking with... SeriesEdit
The bison has appeared in a cameo at the beginning of the last episode of Walking with Beasts, where it was introduced as one of the representative species of the Ice Age (or mammoth) fauna. In reality, bison live only in the New World (North America), and so the animal featured there was actually the wisent (Bison bonasus), European cousin of the bison and its closest living relative and Old World (Eurasia) counterpart.