Fossils of Bison (bison) are scarce on the Colorado Plateau, especially in and around the Greater Grand Canyon Region. Because of poor preservation and collection biases in the region, various resource managers have erroneously designated bison a nonnative and human-(re)introduced species. This decision directly impacts an extant herd of approximately 400 bison that periodically meander onto Grand Canyon National Park lands from neighboring U.S. Forest Service and State of Arizona lands. We re-examined and verified paleozoological museum specimens of this large mammal confirming a prehistoric and early historic presence of Bison on the Colorado Plateau. Our findings indicate that Bison bison should be considered a native species on the Colorado Plateau because they have a nearly continuous record of inhabitance in the region. This record is supported by 74 Bison-bearing fossil, subfossil, and historical localities since the latest Pleistocene.
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Vol. 62 • No. 1