The Bison Blog

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How can history impact a species’ future? Bison were nearly driven extinct in the late 1800s by overhunting and ranching. Today, scientists at Theodore Roosevelt National Park and across the continent are studying bison DNA to discover how that chapter of history changed their gene pool — and bison themselves — forever.

Preliminary Results of Bison Genetic Research

April 25, 2018 Posted by: Hazel Galloway

How do you get from an ancient bison tooth to a new understanding of how humans have impacted the bison gene pool? Find out!


Spend a Day in the Field!

August 29, 2017 Posted by: Hazel Galloway

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Get the inside scoop on how park rangers and researchers collect DNA from bison in the field! In this video, bioscience technician Melissa Thompson explains the technique used to collect genetic samples without endangering the researchers or the animals. DNA from these samples is used to measure the genetic diversity of the herd, and gives us the tools to preserve genetic diversity here in the park, and across the continent.


How is a Bison Like a Pair of Socks?

August 29, 2017 Posted by: Hazel Galloway

Scientists have found that bison living in warmer climates can weigh hundreds of pounds less than bison in cooler climates. What's behind this pattern? And what does this mean for the future of our bison? Since 1900, temperatures have risen 2.5°F on the Northern Great Plains and are likely to continue to rise...
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A Bison Travelogue

August 24, 2017 Posted by: Hazel Galloway

The bison of Theodore Roosevelt National Park aren't native to this area. A bit of digging reveals that the TRNP herd is descended from wild bison captured all over the plains from Texas to Saskatchewan, just before their disappearance from the wild. This brief history reveals not only their diverse origins, but also the very human stories that shaped the survival of a species...


A Bottle Full of Bison

August 24, 2017 Posted by: Hazel Galloway

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What do M&Ms have to do with bison? If you just pour our a few M&Ms randomly, the colors you get probably aren't going to match the larger population. In the same way, when 99.997% of the animals in a species disappear, the DNA of the species is forever changed. Like many other large mammals, the future of bison is shaped by their past...


Last updated: September 9, 2017

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