Steppe bison

Steppe bison

A steppe bison on display at the University of Alaska Museum of the North in Fairbanks.


The steppe bison is one of several extinct large mammals that roamed interior Alaska during the Wisconsinan glacial period, 100,000 to 10,000 years ago. This specimen died about 36,000 years ago and was found during the summer of 1979. It has a bluish color over the entire carcass, caused by the phosphorus in the animal tissue reacting with the iron in the soil to produce a mineral coating of vivianite – which became a brilliant blue when it was exposed to air. Hence the name Blue Babe.

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