How far north is the bison living now? How far north has it lived, before man has killed off most of them with his firearms? Where has the bison lived during the time of the woolly mammoth? How far north? Where have they found the remains of the bison? In what kind of a climate is the bison living now at the northern limit of its range, or in historical times, before man killed it off with his firearms? And on what kind of a plant-cover is it grazing there? How much food is growing there per year? How much aboveground plant matter (gDM/m yr) must grow at least per year, so that the bison is still able to live there (marginal bison habitat)?

During the time of the woolly mammoth, the bison has lived much further north than now. They have found its remains up to the shores of the Arctic Sea. And on Taimyr Peninsula, central northern Siberia, large herds of the steppe bison were grazing together with herds of mammoths and wild steppe horses, up to about 77N. Why is the bison not living now much further north, up to the shores of the Arctic Sea, and up to 77N on northern Taimyr Peninsula? Up there, the reindeer and the muskox are grazing now. In the northernmost parts of Siberia and North America, they are hardly able to survive. Why, then, has the bison been able, to live up there during the time of the woolly mammoth? Would the bison be able, to live on the arctic tundra and on the polar desert, just like the muskox of today? If not: why not?

 

A restoration of Bison crassicornis bulls fighting. Based on skeletal material from a late-Wisconsin site in the Dawson City area, Yukon Territory, N.W. Canada. Ink sketch by Bonnie Dalzell. From: C. R. Harington (1978)