Category Archives: Bison

Fossil Friday – printed bison calcaneum

IMG_6056At our annual Science Under the Stars fundraiser last September, or donors provided us with funding to start a #D scanning and printing lab the the Western Science Center. While some of our equipment is still on order, our first printer arrived a few weeks ago and we’ve been printing as much as possible while we train ourselves in its use. During the Valley of the Mastodons Symposium, Bernard Means from the Virtual Curation Lab scanned a number of our specimens. While we wait for our scanner to arrive we’ve been printing some of Bernard’s scans. Continue reading


Fossil Friday – Bison molar


At Diamond Valley Lake, five genera account for 93% of the preserved large animals: Bison, Equus, Camelops, Mammoth, and Paramylodon. Of these five, the most abundant are Bison. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – Bison atlas vertebra, part 2

This week’s Fossil Friday features one of Diamond Valley Lake’s most common large mammals, the bison. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – chewed-up Bison tibia

I recently finished reading Anthony Martin’s book about dinosaur trace fossils, Dinosaurs Without Bones, so I’ve had trace fossils on my mind. Even though I’m not a trace fossil specialist I find them intriguing, because they are essentially fossilized behavior.  Continue reading

Fossil Friday – bison jaw fragments

Some of the species in the Diamond Valley Lake deposits are common enough that it’s actually possible to get some idea of intraspecies variability, including growth-based (ontogenetic) differences. Bison are not as common at DVL as horses, but there are still enough specimens to look a bit at age profiles.  Continue reading

Fossil Friday – Bison latifrons skull


We still have a few days left in our crowdfunding campaign to study mastodons, but for Fossil Friday this week I’m stepping away from mastodons to look at a different animal. Earlier this week the U. S. Government passed a law designating the American bison (Bison bison) as the United States’ National Mammal. Bison are prominent in the fossil record, including at Diamond Valley Lake. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – Bison latifrons horn core


As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, there were two different species of Bison present at Diamond Valley Lake, the larger, long-horned Bison latifrons and the (relatively) smaller, shorter-horned Bison antiquus. These species are closely related, and it’s often difficult to distinguish between them when dealing with fragmentary remains. But sometimes there’s no doubt. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – bison ungal


Hooves are present in several groups of mammals, including the Artiodactyla, the diverse order that includes cattle (bovids) and an enormous range of other animals. Bovids, including bison, have only two toes on each foot, with a hoof at the tip of each toe, as is clear in the photo below of a bison considerately presenting his hooves for inspection: Continue reading

Fossil Friday – bison lower jaw

While the Diamond Valley Lake deposits didn’t produce anything close to a complete skeleton of a bison, their bones are still among the most common from large animals in the valley, and many of them are well preserved. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – bison humerus

Bison bison North Carolina ZooAsheboro, NC2 February 2008

At first glance, bison seem to be rather oddly proportioned, with a relatively massive head and shoulders. And sometimes, things are exactly as they appear; bison really do have huge, heavy heads. Carrying around such a large head has effects on the rest of the body, and bison have strong neck vertebrae, long neural spines on the vertebrae over the shoulders, and robust forelimbs to help support the weight of the skull. This was even more of an issue for Pleistocene bison such as Bison latifrons and B. antiquus, with their relatively larger and heavier horns compared to the modern B. bison. Continue reading