Bison, is a
bovine mammal that is the largest
terrestrial mammal in North America.
inhabited the Great Plains of the United
States and Canada in massive herds, ranging
from the Great Slave Lake in Canada's far
north to Mexico in the south, and from
eastern Oregon almost to the Atlantic Ocean,
taking its subspecies into account.
subspecies are the Plains Bison (Bison bison
bison), distinguished by its flat back, and
the Wood Bison (Bison bison athabascae),
distinguished by its large humped back.
The Bison is also commonly known as the
American Buffalo, although it is only
distantly related to either the Water
Buffalo or African Buffalo.
Bison are now
raised for meat and hides. Over 250,000 of
the 350,000 remaining bison are being raised
for human consumption. Bison meat is lower
in fat and cholesterol than beef which has
led to the development of beefalo, a fertile
cross-breed of bison and domestic cattle. In
2005, about 35,000 bison were processed for
meat in the U.S., with the National Bison
Association and USDA providing a "Certified
American Buffalo" program with
birth-to-consumer tracking of bison via RFID
studies of privately-owned herds of bison
show that many of them include animals with
genes from domestic cattle; there are as few
as 12,000 to 15,000 pure bison in the world.
The numbers are uncertain because the tests
so far used mitochondrial DNA analysis, and
thus would miss cattle genes inherited in
the male line; most of the hybrids look
exactly like purebred bison.
The American Bison was depicted on the
reverse side of the U.S. "buffalo nickel"
from 1913 to 1938. In 2005 the United States
Mint coined a nickel with a new depiction of
the bison as part of its "Westward Journey"
series and the Kansas quarter with a
depiction of the bison on its reverse as
part of its "50 State Quarter" series. The
Kansas State Quarter only has the bison and
does not feature any writing, the only one
like this so far.