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: Power can corrupt even the honest

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Power can corrupt even the honest

1 hour ago

When appointing a new leader, selectors base their choice on several factors and typically look for leaders with desirable characteristics such as honesty and trustworthiness. However once leaders are in power, can we trust ...

Learning at 10 degrees north

1 hour ago

Secluded beaches, calypso music and the entertaining carnival are often what come to mind when thinking of the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. But Dal Earth Sciences students might first consider Trinidad's ...

How to find the knowns and unknowns in any research

3 hours ago

Have you ever felt overloaded by information? Ever wondered how to make sense of claims and counter-claims about a topic? With so much information out there on many different issues, how is a person new to ...

Minorities energize US consumer market, according to report

3 hours ago

The buying power of minority groups in the U.S. has reached new heights and continues to outpace cumulative inflation, according to the latest Multicultural Economy Report from the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the ...

User comments : 0