Bootherium bombifrons Harlan, 1825

Harlan's musk-ox, Woodland muskox, Helmeted muskox, Bonnet-headed muskox



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Liops zuniensis Gidley, 1906:166; Gidleya zuniensis Gidley, 1906:166; Symbos cavifrons Leidy, 1853; Bootherium sargenti Gidley, 1908:683


Conservation Status


Last record: Late Pleistocene



North America


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Harlan, R. (1825). Fauna Americana: being a description of the mammiferous animals inhabitating North America. Philadelphia: A. Finley.

Other references:

Allen, J. A. 1913. Ontogenetic and other variations in muskoxen, with a systematic review of the muskox group, Recent and extinct. Memoirs American Museum of Natural History 1 (new ser.), pt. IV:101-226, pls 11-18.

Baghai-Riding, Nina L., Husley, Danielle B., Beck, Christine and Blackwell, Eric. (2017). Late Pleistocene megafauna from Mississippi alluvium plain gravel bars. Paludicola 11(3): 124-147. [automatic download: 1.28MB]

Barnosky A.D., Koch P.L., Feranec R.S., Wing S.L., Shabel A.B. (2004). Assessing the causes of Late Pleistocene extinctions on the continents. Science 306(5693): 70-75.

Bover, Pere et al. (2018). Molecular resolution to a morphological controversy: The case of North American fossil muskoxen Bootherium and Symbos. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 129: 70-76. [Abstract]

Burns J.A. 2010 Mammalian faunal dynamics in Late Pleistocene Alberta, Canada. Quaternary International 217(1-2): 37-42.

Campos, Paula F. et al. (2010). Clarification of the taxonomic relationship of the extant and extinct ovibovids, Ovibos, Praeovibos, Euceratherium and Bootherium. Quaternary Science Reviews 29(17-18): 2123-2130. [Abstract]

Chadbourne, P.A., 1871, The discovery of the skull of a musk ox in Utah: American Naturalist, v. 5, p. 315–316.

Faith, J.T., Surovell, T.A., 2009. Synchronous extinction of North America's Pleistocene mammals. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 106, 20641-20645.

Faunmap working group. 1994 FAUNMAP: a database documenting late Quaternary distributions of mammal species in the United States. Illinois State Museum Scientific Papers 25(1-2): 1-690.

Fiedel, S. 2009. Sudden deaths: The chronology of terminal Pleistocene megafaunal extinction. Pp. 21-37, in American megafaunal extinctions at the end of the Pleistocene (G. Haynes, ed.). Springer Science + Business Media, 201 pp.

Gidley, James Williams. (1906). A new ruminant from the Pleistocene of New Mexico. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 30(1447):165-167.

Gidley, James Williams. (1908). Descriptions of two new species of Pleistocene ruminants of the genera Ovibos and Boötherium, with notes on the latter genus. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 34(1627): 681-684, pls. LVII-LIX. 

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.

Hay, O. P. (1923). The Pleistocene of North America and its vertebrated animals from the states east of the Mississippi River and from the Canadian provinces east of longitude 95[D]. Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication 32: 1-532.

Hibbard, C. W. and Hinds, F. J. (1960). A radiocarbon date for a woodland musk ox in Michigan. Pap. Mich. Acad. 45: 103-108.

Hills, L. V., Tolman, Shayne, McNeil, P. and Kooyman, B. (2013). Late Wisconsinan helmeted muskoxen (Bootherium bombifrons) from southwestern Alberta, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 51: 25-31. [Abstract]

Hills, L. V. and Wilson, M. C. (2003). Helmeted muskox (Bootherium bombifrons) from near Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. Dating evidence for redeposition in Late Pleistocene alluvium. Géographie physique et Quaternaire 57: 327-240. [p. 237-240 or 337-340?]

Holmes, Branden. (2021). What's Lost and What Remains: The Sixth Extinction in 100 Accounts (eBook). Self published.

Kirkland, Henry, Jr., Michael Davis, Janet Wood, Dustin Devine, and Kyle Giblet. (1997). Some Late Pleistocene Fossils from Washita Local Fauna. Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science 77: 113-115.

Kurtén B., Anderson E. 1980 Pleistocene Mammals of North America. New York, Columbia University Press.

Leidy, J. (1853). Memoir on the extinct species of American ox. Smith- son. Contrib. Knowl. Vol. 5, Article 3.

Mabee, Stephanie. (2019). Using Stable Isotopes to Understand Survival versus Extinction of Late Pleistocene Muskoxen. Thesis, The University of Western Ontario. [Abstract]

McDonald, J. N. and Ray, C. (1989). The autochthonous North American muskoxen Bootherium, Symbos, and Gidleya. Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology, Issue 66: 1-77.

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.

Nelson, M.E., and Madsen J.H., Jr. (1987). A review of Lake Bonneville shoreline faunas (Late Pleistocene) of northern Utah,

in Kopp, R.S., and Cohenour, R.E., editors, Cenozoic geology of western Utah—sites for precious metal and hydrocarbon ac-cumulations: Utah Geological Association Publication 16, p. 319-333.

Smith F.A., Lyons S.K., Ernest S.K.M., Jones K.E., Kaufman D.M., Dayan T., Marquet P.A., Brown J.H., Haskell J.P. (2003). Body mass of late Quaternary mammals. Ecology 84(12): 3403-3403.

Stephenson, Frances M. (2023). Isotopic Ecology of Bison and Bootherium at Big Bone Lick, Kentucky. MSc thesis, East Tennessee State University.

West, Abagael Rosemary. (2017). Multidisciplinary investigations on the origins and evolution of the extinct ungulate order Notoungulata (Mammalia: Placentalia) and the extinct muskox genus Bootherium (Mammalia: Artiodactyla: Bovidae). Thesis, Columbia University. [Abstract]

Wilson, Richard Leland. (1967). The Pleistocene vertebrates of Michigan. Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters 52: 197-234.

Winkler, Dale A. and Winkler, Alisa J. (2022). New records of Late Pleistocene ungulates (Bootherium and Tapirus) from north central Texas. Paludicola 12(4): 330-341.


<< Back to the Cetartiodactyla (Even-Toed Ungulates) database