Ice-age bison makes modern ones look tiny

ice-age bison skull compared to modern-day bison
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If you were raising bison, wouldn’t you love some of these genetics in your herd?

This “bad boy” was found two years ago in a gravel pit located between Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan, said Chris Jass, curator of quaternary (a.k.a. ice-age) paleontology at the Royal Alberta Museum.

As the photo comparing the partially intact skull to a modern one shows, the ice-age bison were super-sized. Today, a mature bull weighs in at a non-too-dainty 2,000 pounds. But it would quickly develop an inferiority complex if confronted by its ice-age predecessor.

“With those horns you would definitely have a more robust animal,” said Jass. “The highest estimates I could find for this particular species was around 3,300 pounds.”

Bison priscus, or steppe bison, was found in the steppes of Central Asia, Europe and North America.

“We sent off a sample for radio-carbon dating, but my estimate is that this skull is over 20,000 years old,” said Jass.

The skull isn’t on display, but it’s hoped there will be room when the museum moves to its new, umm, digs in late 2017.

More from the Alberta Farmer Express website: Bison return has real concerns



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