May 30, 2012 at 5:16 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
What’s in a Name?
Buffalo versus bison. Is there a difference? While the names are used interchangeably in casual conversation, the American Bison (Bison bison) is a distinct mammal native to North America. The bison is only distantly related to the other true buffalo in the world: the Asian water buffalo and the African buffalo. However, the term “buffalo” was used by French trappers as early as 1635, probably from bœuf, meaning ox or beef, and it is this name that is most commonly used, though bison is the correct scientific term. So the name “buffalo” is something of a misnomer, but it has entered the vocabulary of American English, and we will use it, as well as “bison” throughout.
The Age of the Bison
In 1521, when explorer Hernán Cortés first saw a bison in Montezuma’s private zoo, he called them “humpbacked cows.” Though the buffalo did…
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