Steppe wisent

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Steppe bison
Temporal range: Irvingtonian to Late Pleistocene 1.8–0.011Ma
Bison priscus skeleton
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Bovinae
Genus: Bison
Species: B. priscus
Binomial name
Bison priscus
Bojanus, 1827
Bison priscus skull
Cave painting in Altamira, Spain

The steppe bison[1] or steppe wisent (Bison priscus) is an extinct bison found on steppes throughout Europe,[2] Central Asia,[3] Beringia, and North America[4] during the Quaternary. It is believed that it evolved somewhere in South Asia which would have it appearing at roughly the same time and region as the aurochs with which its descendants are sometimes confused.

The steppe wisent became extinct in the late Pleistocene, as it was replaced in Europe by the modern wisent species and in America by a sequence of species (first Bison latifrons, and somewhat later, Bison antiquus) culminating in the modern American bison.[5]

The steppe wisent was over two metres tall and resembled the modern bison species, reaching 900 kg (1984 lbs) in weight.[6] The tips of the horns were a meter apart, the horns themselves being over half a meter long.

Steppe wisent occasionally appear in cave art, notably in the Cave of Altamira and Lascaux, and have been found in naturally ice-preserved form.[5][7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Steppe Bison – Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre. Retrieved on 2013-05-31.
  2. ^ Вестник Кирилло-Белозерского музея 9 (Май 2006) О. Яшина, Т.В. Цветкова – Кирилловский бизон. Retrieved on 2013-05-31.
  3. ^ Vasiliev, S.K. (2008). "Late pleistocene bison (Bison p. priscus Bojanis, 1827) from the Southeastern part of Western Siberia". Archaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia 34 (2): 34. doi:10.1016/j.aeae.2008.07.004. 
  4. ^ Zazula, Grant D.; MacKay, Glen; Andrews, Thomas D.; Shapiro, Beth; Letts, Brandon; Broc, Fiona (2009). "A late Pleistocene steppe bison (Bison priscus) partial carcass from Tsiigehtchic, Northwest Territories, Canada". Quaternary Science Reviews 28 (25–26): 2734–2742. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.06.012. 
  5. ^ a b Verkaar, E. L. C.; Nijman, IJ; Beeke, M; Hanekamp, E; Lenstra, JA (2004). "Maternal and Paternal Lineages in Cross-Breeding Bovine Species. Has Wisent a Hybrid Origin?". Molecular Biology and Evolution 21 (7): 1165–70. doi:10.1093/molbev/msh064. PMID 14739241. 
  6. ^ McPhee, R. D. E. (1999) Extinctions in Near Time: Causes, Contexts, and Consequences, Springer, isbn 0306460920, p. 262.
  7. ^ Dale Guthrie, R (1989). Frozen Fauna of the Mammoth Steppe: The Story of Blue Babe. ISBN 9780226311234. 
  8. ^ Paglia, C. (2004). "The Magic of Images: Word and Picture in a Media Age". Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics (Trustees of Boston University) 11 (3): 1–22. doi:10.2307/20163935. JSTOR 20163935.  edit