Bison antiquus Leidy, 1852

Ancient bison



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonymy: "Bison antiquus taylori Hay and Cook 1928, Bison californicus Rhoads 1897, Bison figginsi Hay and Cook 1928, Bison kansensis McClung 1905, Bison oliverhayi Figgins 1933, Bison pacificus Hay 1927, Bison taylori Hay and Cook 1928, Bison texanus Hay and Cook 1928, Bos scaphoceras, Ovis scaphoceras , Simobison figginsi Hay and Cook 1928, Stelabison taylori Hay and Cook 1928"



Conservation Status


Last record: c. 8,000 BC



USA (at least 12 states)


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Leidy, Joseph (1852). Bison antiquus. Proceedings Academy of Natural Science 6: 117.

Other references:

Agogino, G. A. and Stevens, D. E. (1972). Tours of archaeological interest in east-central New Mexico. Pp. 141-143. In: Guidebook of east-central New Mexico (V. C. Kelley and F. D. Trauger, eds.). New Mexico Geological Society 23rd Field Conference.

Baskin, Jon A., Walls, Robert and Thomas, Ronny G. (2022). Bison antiquus and B. latifrons from the latest Rancholabrean (latest Pleistocene), Nueces River Valley, South Texas. In: Morgan, Gary S. et al. (eds.). Late Cenozoic Vertebrate Paleontology: Tribute to Arthur H. Harris. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 88: 213-224.

Bement, Leland C. (1999). Bison Hunting at Cooper Site: Where Lightning Bolts Drew Thundering Herds. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.

Bravo-Cuevas, Victor Manuel and Jiménez-Hidalgo, Eduardo. (2018). Advances on the Paleobiology of Late Pleistocene mammals from central and southern Mexico, pp. 277-313. In: Huard, Gaeten and Gareau, Jeannine (eds.). The Pleistocene: Geography, Geology, and Fauna. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Carrillo-López, R. et al. (2023). New records of Bison (Mammalia: Bovidae) from Southern Mexico and some comments on their distribution and biochronology. PalZ.

Chandler, A. C. (1916). A study of the skull and dentition of Bison antiquus Leidy, with special reference to material from the Pacific Coast. University of California Publications, Bulletin of the Department of Geology 9: 121-135.

Cohen, Joshua E. et al. (In press, 2021). Dietary stability inferred from dental mesowear analysis in large ungulates from Rancho La Brea and opportunistic feeding during the late Pleistocene. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. doi: [Abstract]

Czaplewski, N. J., J. I. Mead, C. J. Bell, W. D. Peachey, and T-L. Ku. 1999. Papago Springs Cave revisited, Part II: Vertebrate paleofauna. Occasional Papers of the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History 5: 1-41.

Díaz-Sibaja, Roberto et al. (2018). A combined mesowear analysis of Mexican Bison antiquus shows a generalist diet with geographical variation. Journal of Paleontology. [Abstract]

Díaz-Sibaja, Roberto et al. (2020). A fossil Bison antiquus from Puebla, Mexico and a new minimum age for the Valsequillo fossil area. Journal of South American Earth Sciences 103: 102766. [Abstract]

Flerov, C. C. 1979. Sistematika i evolyutsiya [Systematics and evolution]. Pp. 9-127, in Zubr: Morfologiya, sistematika, evolyutsiya, ekologiya [European bison: Morphology, systematics, evolution, ecology] (V. E. Sokolov, ed.). Nauka, Moscow, 495 pp. (in Russian).

Fuller, Benjamin T. et al. (In Press, 2019). Pleistocene paleoecology and feeding behavior of terrestrial vertebrates recorded in a pre-LGM asphaltic deposit at Rancho La Brea, California. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. doi: [Abstract]

Galvez, Saul et al. (2018). How did bison calves grow up? Postnatal limb allometry in Bison antiquus from the La Brea Tar Pits, pp. 213-217. In: Lucas, Spences G. and Sullivan, Robert M. (eds). Fossil Record 6(1). New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science Bulletin 79.

Gilmour, Daniel A. et al. (2015). Chronology and ecology of late Pleistocene megafauna in the northern Willamette Valley, Oregon. Quaternary Research 83: 127-136.

Gordon, B. C. (1970). Bison antiquus from the Northwest Territories. Arctic 23: 132-133.

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Frank, R. 1968. Appendix: Identification of miscellaneous faunal remains from Bonfire Shelter. Pp. 133-134, in: Bonfire Shelter: A stratified Bison kill site, Val Verde County, Texas (D. S. Dibble and D. Lorrain, authors). Texas Memorial Museum, Miscellaneous Papers no. 1:1-138.

Galvez, Saul L. et al. (2021). Age-mortality profiles in La Brea Bison antiquus: insights into population dynamics and taphonomy, pp. 93-96. In: Lucas, Spences G. and Sullivan, Robert M. (eds). Fossil Record 7. New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science Bulletin 82.

Harris, Arthur H. (1993). Quaternary vertebrates of New Mexico, pp. 179-197. In: Vertebrate Paleontology in New Mexico, New Mexico Museum of Natural History, Bulletin 2:i-vii, 1-338.

Harris, A. H. 2003. The Pleistocene vertebrate fauna from Pendejo Cave. Pp. 36-65, in Pendejo Cave (R. S. MacNeish and J. G. Libby, eds.), University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 526 pp.

Hemmings, E. T. 2007. Buried animal kills and processing localities, areas 1–5. Pp. 83-137, in Murray Springs, a Clovis site with multiple activity areas in the San Pedro Valley, Arizona. Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona, no. 71, University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Hibben, F. C. 1941. Evidences of early occupation in Sandia Cave, New Mexico, and other sites in the Sandia-Manzano region. With appendix on Correlation of the deposits of Sandia Cave, New Mexico, with the glacial chronology. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 99(23):i-vi, 1-(?63+).

Hilton, Richard P., Dailey, D. Charles and McDonald, H. Gregory. (2000). A Late Pleistocene biota from the Arco Arena site, Sacramento, California. PaleoBios 20(1): 7-12.

Hurst, C. T. (1943). A Folsom site in a mountain valley of Colorado. American Antiquity 8(3): 250-253.

Jass, Christopher N. et al. (2016). New records of late Quaternary Bison from southern Alberta, and comments on significance of Holocene faunal remains. Archaeological Survey of Alberta Occasional Paper 36: 169-173.

Jefferson, George T. (1991). A catalogue of late Quaternary vertebrates from California. Part two, mammals. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Technical Report 7: 1-129.

Jefferson, George T. and Goldin, Judith L. (1989). Seasonal migration of Bison antiquus from Rancho La Brea, California. Quaternary Research 31(1): 107-112. [Abstract]

G. T. Jefferson, H. L. Fierstine, J. R. Wesling and T.-L. Ku. (1992). Pleistocene terrestrial vertebrates from near Point San Luis, and other localities in San Luis Obispo County, California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 91(1): 26-38.

Jefferson, G. T., H. G. McDonald, and S. D. Livington. 2015. Catalogue of late Quaternary and Holocene fossil vertebrates from Nevada. Nevada State Museum, Occasional Papers no. 6a:iv + 86.

Jones,Davis Brent and Desantis, Larisa R. G. (In Press, 2016). Dietary ecology of ungulates from the La Brea tar pits in southern California: A multi-proxy approach. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. [Abstract]

Kenady, S. M. (2008). Evidence of pre-Clovis butchering on a Bison antiquus from the Ayer Pond Site, 45SJ454, in Northwest Washington State. In: Society for American Archaeology, 73rd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, British Columbia, March 23e30, 2008, Abstracts of the 73rd Annual Meeting, p. 304.

Kenady, S. M., Wilson, M. C. and Schalk, R. F. (2007). Indications of butchering on a latePleistocene Bison antiquus from the maritime Pacific Northwest. Current Research in the Pleistocene 24: 167-170.

Kenady, S.M., et al. (2010). Late Pleistocene butchered Bison antiquus from Ayer Pond, Orcas. Quaternary International. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2010.04.013

Kirillova, I. V., Borisova, O. K., Chernova, O. F., Haynes, G., Narina, N. V., Panin, A. V., Zanina, O. G., Zazovskaya, E. P., Zhuravlev, A. Y. and Zvyagin, V. N. (2021). Nonpyrogenic charring of Late Pleistocene large mammal remains in northeastern Russia. Boreas 51(2): 481-495.

Lundelius, E. L., Jr. 1972. Vertebrate remains from the gray sand. Pp. 148-163, in Blackwater locality no. 1. A stratified early man site in eastern New Mexico (J. J. Hester, ed.). Fort Burgwin Research Center Publication 8:1-238.

Lyman, R. Lee and Bassett, Kenny. (2004). Late-Pleistocene Female Bison antiquus from Central Missouri. Current Research in the Pleistocene [b]21[/b]: 99–100.

McDonald, J. N. 1981. North American bison. Their classification and evolution. University California Press, Berkeley, 316 pp.

D. J. Meltzer, D. H. Mann, and J. M. LaBelle. (2004). A Bison antiquus from Archuleta Creek, Folsom, New Mexico. Current Research in the Pleistocene 21: 107-109.

Mihlbachler, Matthew C. et al. (2000). Reevaluation of the Alexon Bison Kill Site, Wacissa River, Jefferson County, Florida. CRP 17: 55-57.

Milligan, Mark and McDonald, H. Gregory. (2017). Shorelines and vertebrate fauna of Pleistocene Lake Bonneville, Utah, Idaho, and Nevada. Geology of the Intermountain West 4: 181-214.

Morgan, G. S., and S. G. Lucas. 2005. Pleistocene vertebrate faunas in New Mexico from alluvial, fluvial, and lacustrine deposits. Pp. 185-248, in New Mexico's Ice Ages (Lucas, S. G., G. S. Morgan, and K. E. Zeigler, eds.). New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Bulletin 28:1-280.

G. S. Morgan and L. F. Rinehart. (2007). Late Pleistocene (Rancholabrean) mammals from fissure deposits in the Jurassic Todilto Formation, White Mesa mine, Sandoval County, north-central New Mexico. New Mexico Geology 29(2): 39-51.

O'Keefe, F. Robin et al. (2023). Pre–Younger Dryas megafaunal extirpation at Rancho La Brea linked to fire-driven state shift. Science 381(6659): eabo3594.

Ordoñez-Regil, E., Almazán-Torres, M. G., Jiménez-Hidalgo, E. and Tenorio, D. (2016). Radiometric dating of Late Pleistocene mammal bones from La Mixteca Alta Oaxaqueña. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 9: 160-167.

Ovchinnikov, Igor V. and McCann, Blake. (2023). Mitogenomes revealed the history of bison colonization of Northern Plains after the Last Glacial Maximum. Scientific Reports 13: 11417.

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C. B. Schultz. (1943). Some artifact sites of early man in the Great Plains and adjacent areas. American Antiquity 8(3): 242-249.

C. B. Schultz and E. B. Howard. (1935). The fauna of Burnet Cave, Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 87: 273-298.

Schultz, J. R. 1937. A Late Quaternary mammal fauna from the tar seeps of McKittrick, California. Ph.D. thesis, California Institute of Technology, 202 pp + 2 plates.

Scott, E., and S. M. Cox. 2008. Pleistocene distribution of Bison (Mammalia; Artiodactyla) in the Mojave Desert of southern California and Nevada. Natural History Museum of Los Angels County, Science Series 41:359-382.

Skinner, M. F. 1942. The fauna of Papago Springs Cave, Arizona, with a study of Stockoceros. American Museum of Natural History, Bulletin 80:143-220.

Skinner, Morris F. and Kaisen Ove C. (1947). The fossil bison of Alaska and preliminary revision of the genus. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 89(3): 123-256, text figures 1-5, plates 8-26, tables 1-25, maps 1-3.

Springer, Kathleen B., Pigati, Jeffrey S. and Scott, Eric. (2017). Vertebrate Paleontology, Stratigraphy, and Paleohydrology of Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, Nevada (USA). Geology of the Intermountain West 4: 55-98.

Springer, K., J. C. Sagebiel, E. Scott, C. Manker, and C. Austin. 2005. Additions to the Late Pleistocene vertebrate paleontology of the Las Vegas Formation, Clark County, Nevada. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meeting 2003 [Poster].

Springer, K., E. Scott, C. Sagebiel, and L. K. Murray. 2009. The Diamond Valley Lake local fauna: Late Pleistocene vertebrates from inland southern California. Pp. 217-235, in Papers on geology, vertebrate paleontology, and biostratigraphy in honor of Michael O. Woodburne (L. G. Albright, III, ed.). Museum of Northern Arizona Bulletin 65, Flagstaff, Arizona.

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J. T. Thurmond and D. E. Jones. (1981). Fossil Vertebrates of Alabama, pp. 244.

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S. D. Webb and K. T. Wilkins. (1984). Carnegie Museum of Natural History Special Publication, No. 8.

S. David Webb, Jerald T. Milanich, Roger Alexon and James S. Dunbar. (1984). A Bison Antiquus Kill Site, Wacissa River, Jefferson County, Florida. American Antiquity 49(2): 384-392. [Abstract]

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Wilson, M., Kenady, S. and Schalk, R. (2009). Late Pleistocene Bison antiquus from Orcas Island, Washington, and the biogeographic importance of an early postglacial land mammal dispersal corridor from the mainland to Vancouver Island. Quaternary Research 71(1): 49-61.

Michael C. Wilson, Leonard V. Hills, Beth Shapiro. (2008). Late Pleistocene northward-dispersing Bison antiquus from the Bighill Creek Formation, Gallelli Gravel Pit, Alberta, Canada, and the fate of Bison occidentalis. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 45(7): 827-859. [Abstract]


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