Scientists ponder Illinois bison mystery

Aug 30, 2005

The discovery of 2,000-year-old bison bones in Illinois has contradicted theories that bison were more recent arrivals in the state.

The bones of the American bison were discovered along the Illinois River south of Peoria near Lewistown, the Springfield (Ill.) State Journal-Register reported Tuesday.

As many as 60 million bison -- often inaccurately referred to as buffalo -- roamed North America before being hunted to extinction during the 19th century.

In Illinois, bison were thought to have arrived fairly recently, although the large mammals were present west of the Mississippi River as long ago as 10,000 years, scientists told the newspaper said.

Archaeologists had believed bison arrived in Illinois during the mid 1400s and were extinct in the state by the early 1800s.

But the recent discovery suggests American bison were present on the central Illinois prairies between 265 B.C. and 365 B.C. -- about 1,700 years earlier than believed.

Scientists at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield told the newspaper the discovery is puzzling, especially because no bone tools or scraps of bison have been found in American Indian refuse pits dated before the 1400s.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Not just the poor live hand-to-mouth

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Not just the poor live hand-to-mouth

11 hours ago

When the economy hits the skids, government stimulus checks to the poor sometimes follow. Stimulus programs—such as those in 2001, 2008 and 2009—are designed to boost the economy quickly by getting cash ...

Math modeling handbook now available

14 hours ago

Math comes in handy for answering questions about a variety of topics, from calculating the cost-effectiveness of fuel sources and determining the best regions to build high-speed rail to predicting the spread ...

Archaeologists, tribe clash over Native remains

15 hours ago

Archaeologists and Native Americans are clashing over Indian remains and artifacts that were excavated during a construction project in the San Francisco Bay Area, but then reburied at an undisclosed location.

Male-biased tweeting

17 hours ago

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Male-biased tweeting

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

Not just the poor live hand-to-mouth

When the economy hits the skids, government stimulus checks to the poor sometimes follow. Stimulus programs—such as those in 2001, 2008 and 2009—are designed to boost the economy quickly by getting cash ...

Archaeologists, tribe clash over Native remains

Archaeologists and Native Americans are clashing over Indian remains and artifacts that were excavated during a construction project in the San Francisco Bay Area, but then reburied at an undisclosed location.