Faculty Sponsor

Bharath Ganesh Babu


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-2-2015


Early bison originated in Asia and migrated to North America by means of the Bering Land Bridge, which opened around 600,000 years ago. Just after the Wisconsin glaciation (11, 700 years ago), there were two allopatric species of bison residing in North American - the plains bison (Bos bison bison), and the woodland bison (Bos bison athabasce). European explorers and settlers recorded incredible numbers of bison in most parts of the present day United States. Bison thrived in North America until the mid-19th century, but experienced a drastic decline in population from about 60 million to only 1,000 as European settlers headed west. Currently, 95% of extant bison are part of industrial corporations that raise them for their meat and other byproducts. This paper explores the natural history, geographic distribution, near extinction, recovery, and current status of the bison within the United States.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Grace Roman is currently a sophomore majoring in geography and biology and also pursuing a minor in American Indian studies at Valparaiso University. The purpose of this paper was to fulfill an assignment in a biogeography class this past fall. The topic of this paper was inspired by Grace's minor and the close ties many Native American groups have to the plains bison. Her current pursuits include narrowing her interests within her majors.