Steppe Bison

The steppe bison (Bos priscus), was once found on the Mammoth steppe where its range included Europe, Central Asia, Japan, Yakutia, Beringia, and northwest Canada to Mexico during the Quaternary. It is believed to have evolved from Bison paleosinensis in South Asia, which means the species appeared at roughly the same time and region as the aurochs with which its descendants are sometimes confused. The steppe bison was eventually contemporaneous with the Pleistocene woodland bison (B. schoetensacki) and the European bison (Bison bonasus) in Europe, Leptobison in Japan, and the long horned bison (Bison latifrons) in North America. The steppe bison became extinct in the early Holocene, as it was replaced in Europe by the modern bison (B. bonasus), which is likely a hybrid between B. priscus and aurochs, and in America by a sequence of species (Bison antiquus, Bison occidentalis), culminating in the modern American bison. European cave paintings appear to depict both B. bonasus and B. priscus. The steppe bison was over 2 m tall at the shoulder, and resembled the modern bison species, reaching 900 kg (2,000 lb) in weight. The tips of the horns were a meter apart, the horns themselves being over half a meter long.


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