- Title Pages
- Organisms and Environments
- Part one Relationships, Relationships
- Chapter 1 Bull to Bull and Cow to Bull
- Chapter 2 Cow to Cow
- Chapter 3 Cow to Calf
- Part Two The Machinery of a Bison’s Life
- Chapter 4 Bison Athletics
- Chapter 5 Digestion
- Chapter 6 Temperature Control
- Part Three Whence they Came Forth, and how Much they Multiplied
- Chapter 7 Ancestors and Relatives
- Chapter 8 How Many?
- Part Four The Bison’s Neighborhood
- Chapter 9 The Central Grassland
- PART FIVE The Bison’s Neighbors
- Chapter 10 Wolves and Bison
- Chapter 11 Buffalo Birds
- Chapter 12 Diseases and Parasites
- Chapter 13 Pronghorn
- Chapter 14 Prairie Dogs
- Chapter 15 Badgers
- Chapter 16 Coyotes
- Chapter 17 Grizzlies
- Chapter 18 Ferrets
- Part Six Human and Buffalo
- Chapter 19 Close Encounters of the Buffalo Kind
- Chapter 20 To Kill a Bison
- Chapter 21 Bison Numbers before the Great Slaughter
- Chapter 22 Where have all the Bison Gone?
- Chapter 23 Attitudes
- Chapter 24 Conservation
- Chapter 25 A Great Plains Park
Ancestors and Relatives
Ancestors and Relatives
- (p.60) (p.61) Chapter 7 Ancestors and Relatives
- American Bison
Dale F. Lott
- University of California Press
Every species has a history, and that history is a part of the species as much as an individual's history is a part of the individual. It both creates and limits the species' possibilities. This chapter, on ancestors and relatives, traces the bison lineage, especially in North America, and establishes the place of the modern species Bison bison, which emerged only about 5,000 years ago. The first bison to cross Beringia were not the first bison. Bison branched off from the primitive cow family line — Leptobos — about a million years ago. The first bison were small-bodied, small-horned, fast-moving residents of forest edges and meadows. Gradually, the bison line became northern specialists, able to live where other cattle couldn't. They also became open grassland specialists.
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