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    An American plains bison, Bison bison bison, in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota. This one is a dominant bull. His face is covered in cockleburs, which are the Velcro-like seed pods of a Xanthium plant. Due to morphological and genetic similarities between the genera Bison and Bos (cattle), some scientists propose merging Bison into Bos. This is similar to the merging of Bibos (Indian gaur) into Bos, which did occur. For now though, the official genus of bison is still Bison.

    Bison are the largest land animals in North America, but this is the smaller of the two living subspecies. The American wood bison, B. bison athabascae, is larger and rarer. This is how to tell them apart:

    Plains bison have woolly hair on the head, while the larger wood bison has shaggier moppy hair. Plains bison have round, hill-shaped humps on their shoulders and wood bison have square, butte-shaped humps. Because of the humps, the tallest point on a plains bison is above the front legs, while on a wood bison it's ahead of the legs.

    On a plains bison, there is a noticeable difference in color and/or fur length between the cape and the rest of the back; on wood bison it blends together. Plains bison have larger beards, throat manes, and furrier front legs than their larger wood cousins. Plains bison are also native to midland America while wood bison have a smaller range in the northeast.

    This is the same bison seen here, but I edited out the burs on his face:

    This photo is featured in an article highlighting the issue of cow DNA polluting bison populations, here:

    Storm Nobleheart, chemazgz, treegoat, and 1 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. e_monk 67 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Stuff With Four Legs, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    2. ritchey.jj 66 months ago | reply

      Very interesting narrative, I have an ongoing project of photographing a herd near Topeka, Kansas. I go there every 3 to 4 weeks to record the seasonal change of their coats. Plus the calving process and the growth of those calves. It's nice to know more about those animals. They roam free on 140 acres, I know that isn't freedom but they are honored animals on this Indian reservation. That is appealing to me.

    3. HHR-AWAY 64 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called ~New Envy of Flickr!~ Invited Only - 1 post - 2 comment, and we'd love to have this added to the group!


      Please join our
      WORLD BIG GAME contest
      Thank you

    4. EncyclopediaOfLife 47 months ago | reply

      Encyclopedia of Life curator Leo Shapiro has trusted your image on the EOL site

    5. C.A.Taylor 41 months ago | reply

      He's so scruffy! Great shot!

    6. ERIK THE CAT 40 months ago | reply

      Wonderful shot.

    7. treegrow 35 months ago | reply

      Congratulations! Your photo was winner in the Encyclopedia of Life Images Photo Contest: Seed Dispersal. Please post your image to the Best of EOL Images pool of contest winners.

    8. John_Upton 31 months ago | reply

      Nice pic! I used it in a blog about domestic cow DNA lingering in today's buffalo: www.john-upton.com/cows-in-buffalo/

      Thanks for using the Creative Commons license.

      - JU

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