‹‹ Colorado Postcards

The giant Ice Age bison

Listen Now
1min 00sec
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Bison at Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Feb. 12, 2017.
The giant Ice Age bison

The bison is North America’s largest mammal, but it would be dwarfed by its ancestor, the giant Ice Age bison that stood 16 feet long, 8 feet tall, with six feet between the tips of its horns. It was the largest and heaviest bovid ever to live in North America, where it thrived for millennia before extinction 20 to 30 thousand years ago.

Remains of one of these prehistoric giant bison were discovered on a construction site in Snowmass in 2010. That animal’s living legacy is the smaller species that evolved 10,000 years ago into the modern American Bison. But white settlers hunted them to near extinction in the 19th century. That threatened Native American nations that depended on bison for survival. Today, the National Wildlife Federation works with tribal governments to return bison to their lands to continue their cultural, spiritual, and historic connections for generations to come.

About Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards are snapshots of our colorful state in sound. They give brief insights into our people and places, our flora and fauna, and our past and present, from every corner of Colorado.