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Is there a difference between buffalo and bison?

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posted Feb 12, 2017 by Mukul Chag

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2 Answers

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Both the buffalo and bison are in the Bovidae family. The two main species of buffalo are the African or Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) and the endangered wild Asian water buffalo (Bubalus arnee). There’s also a domestic water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), that is smaller than its wild cousin.

As for bison, the two main species are the American bison (Bison bison) and the European bison (Bison bonasus). There is also a distinctive northern subspecies of the American bison called the wood bison (Bison bison athabascae), native to Alaska and Canada.

Here are five distinct differences to help you distinguish between them -
Bison are Head and Shoulders Above The Buffalo Bison have a large shoulder hump of pure muscle and a massive head that makes their hindquarters look smaller than their fronts. Both the Cape buffalo and water buffalo have smaller heads and shoulders in proportion to the rest of their bodies, giving them a more symmetrical appearance.

The Horns Have It: Both male and female Cape buffalo have large horns in the shape of a handlebar mustache that sweep up on the ends and can grow up to three or more feet across on males. The water buffalo trumps them all with its majestic horns that can have a six-foot span in both sexes. Bison horns of both sexes average around two feet.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Bison have a thick, shaggy coat that keeps them warm in the harsh winter weather of the Great Plains, which they shed in the hot summer months. Both the Cape buffalo and the water buffalo have a thinner coat that they don’t shed.

Hipster Beard: Bison would fit right in at a Williamsburg coffee shop or hip East Village bar with their long, unkempt beard. Buffalo, however, might feel more comfortable in a Midtown office with a strict facial hair policy; they lack a beard of any sort.

Weighty Matters: The American bison wins in the length department: Males, called bulls, can grow up to 12.5 feet from head to rump and weigh as much as 2,200 pounds. The Cape buffalo comes in second in length, at around 11 feet and weighs in at a little less than 2,00o pounds. The water buffalo can grow up to nine feet and weigh as much as 2,650 pounds, making it the heavyweight champion. Its tail is also longer than that of a bison, up to 33 inches compared with 26 inches for the bison.

Credit: http://modernfarmer.com/2016/09/bison-vs-buffalo/

answer Feb 13, 2017 by Salil Agrawal
–1 vote

Early American settlers called bison “bufello” due to the similar appearance between the two animals, and the name "buffalo" stuck for the American variety. But it's wrong.

The American bison (Bison bison) lives only in North America, while the two main buffalo species reside in Africa and Asia. A small population of bison relatives called the European bison (Bison bonasus) lives in isolated parts of Poland.

Like buffalo, bison belong to the Bovidae family, which includes more than 100 species of hoofed mammals, called ungulates — buffalo, bison, antelopes, gazelles, cattle, sheep and goats. Two main buffalo species exist: African cape buffalo and Asian water buffalo.

If you were to stand eye-to-eye with a buffalo species and a bison — and neither mowed you down — you’d notice stark physical differences. Unlike any buffalo species, the American bison sports a large shoulder hump and a massive head, which gives this symbol of the West its burly appearance.

answer Feb 13, 2017 by Manikandan J
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