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There's so much you can learn about buffalo history, and all of it is incredibly
fascinating! Keep in mind, for some quick facts, go to our FAQs Page.

What are they? Buffalo or Bison?
 We call them buffalo, but they are really bison. We tell folks it's sort of like the difference between dog and canine; and actually, their scientific name is bison-bison.

Where did they come from?  During the Pleistocene Ice Age, the ancestors
of today's bison-bison, the bison priscus, migrated from Siberia into Alaska.
they descended from European Wiscent.

How did they evolve?  Bison-priscus evolved into bison-latifrons and lived in
North America for 3,000,000 years. 22,000 years ago, bison-latifrons evolved
into bison-antiquus. 10,000 years ago, bison-antiquus evolved into bison-bison.

Learn more, send a question on our FAQ page
Learn more about the evolution of the buffalo.
Learn more about the Native Americans and Bison.

In the early 1800's  there were 30-60 million bison. Endless numbers were
described across the prairie. Bison ranged America from the East coast
through the Rocky Mountains.

During the mid-1800's  bison remained only west of the
Mississippi River. Along with the shrinking bison range, the
once countless numbers of bison herds were also shrinking.

By the late 1800's  the bison that had
survived the Ice Age were nearly eliminated
by man. The total number of bison, which was
once 30-60 million was just a few hundred.

Why were bison killed?  The foreign settlers were at war with
Native Americans. To facilitate the elimination of the Native
Americans the invading settlers destroyed vast amounts of
Bison, (a staple of Native American livlihood.) Another
contributing factor was the building of the railroads, which
allowed many settlers access to the praire where bison
was hunted for food, clothing etc.

Native Americans  lived in harmony with the buffalo. The buffalo were their way of life and much like their
store. here are some of the ways they used all of the bison:

      Meat: food.   Hide: clothes, shoes, shelter, drums, buckets.   Hoofs: glue, rattles, spoons.
        Horns:  cups, powder horns, ornaments, tools, toys, ceremonial items.   Tounge: food, combs.
          Hair & Wool:  ropes, halters, pillows, pads, bracelets, balls.  Tallow (fat): soaps, oils, cosmetics.
          Sinew: bow string, sewing thread.  Bladder & stomach lining: pouches, bags, buckets, canteens.
Teeth: games, ornaments.  Tail: brush, whip, fly-swatter.   Brain: hide preparation.  Dung/chips: diaper powder, fuel.

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