Friday, 10 August 2012

Preserving an Icon: Impact of Historical Domestic Cattle Hybridization With American Bison Revealed

ScienceDaily (Aug. 7, 2012) — Plains bison are an iconic symbol of America on everything from coins to state flags. Now scientists writing in Conservation Biology are exploring how the cross-breeding of bison with domestic cattle in the late 1800s may still have unwanted effects on modern populations of the species.

"The plains bison are an iconic symbol of rugged individualism and the will to survive," said Professor James Derr from Texas A&M University. "The population crash and the spectacular recovery over the last 125 years is a classic example of the resilience of this species and the success of science based wildlife conservation."

Plains bison (Bison bison bison) once numbered in the tens of millions, but they were driven to the brink of extinction in the late 1880's during America's westward expansion. A small population of wild bison survived in Yellowstone National Park, while 5 herds remained in the hands of private ranchers. It is estimated that less than 100 surviving bison became the common ancestors of today's herds.

Continued:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120807104820.htm

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