Lv 5
Pen asked in Science & MathematicsZoology · 1 decade ago

Whats the difference between a buffalo and a bison?

I know one is extinct, and the other they make steaks out of. I know one was killed off by people for sport, riding around on trains in the mid-west. Do they look identical? Is a bison the species and the buffalo a sub-species. Also, why am I asking people who have never even seen a real buffalo just like me. Hey, scientist's and experts only please. Just kidding, just let me know what you think I suppose and please back it up with proof if your not to lazy or duh.

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    'Buffalo' is the popular name often used to describe North American bison; however, this is a misnomer. In fact, buffalo are distinctly different animals from bison. Although both bison and buffalo belong to the same family, Bovidae, true 'buffalo' are native only to Africa and Asia.

    Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

    This is the only African species of buffalo.

    Water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)

    This species is highly domesticated across Asia, although some rare wild herds still exist.

    Historians are undecided on the origin of buffalo as the name for the North American bison, although some speculate that early European explorers likened the unknown bison to the more familiar African and Asian buffalo. A related view is that the word ‘buffalo’ is derived from terms in other languages used by explorers to describe the unfamiliar beast, including, bisonte, buffes, buffelo, buffles, and buffalo. These terms are similar to bufle and buffe, which were commonly used to refer to any animal that provided good hide for buff leather. Despite the misnomer, the term ‘buffalo’ has been used interchangeably with ‘bison’ since early explorers first discovered the North American species, and has become entrenched as a colloquialism in North American culture and language.

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  • coples
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Bison are the tremendous North American plains animal quite often referred to as buffalo. There are, nonetheless, different species of buffalo during Europe and Asia, none of that are concerning the American bison. So for illustration, in Italy you'll be able to get a cheese constituted of buffalo milk (mozzarella di bufalo) that is NOT constituted of bison milk, however from the milk of the European buffalo. And within the southeast nook of the African continent, you're much more likely to get killed through a Cape buffalo than through a lion, however neither one is a bison.

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  • Bison are not extinct... they were just nearly wiped out during the colonization of North America. People that call them buffalo are just like all the people who call 100's of different Gull species "seagulls" its not their real name or even what they are actually called but people do it anyway.

    Excerpt.. American Bison, The animal is also commonly known as the American Buffalo, or simply buffalo, something of a misnomer as it is only distantly related to either of the two "true buffalos": the Water Buffalo and the African Buffalo.

    Bison are distinct from buffalo, with the only two species holding that name being the Asian Water Buffalo and African Buffalo.

    Buffalo are a completely different species..

    PS I have seen many "real" Bison but never a Buffalo, they live on a different continent than I do..

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  • 1 decade ago

    Buffalo vs. Bison? American Buffalo and bison are the same animal. Bison is actually the scientific name of the American Buffalo. When Europeans first encountered the buffalo in the American west during the 1700's, the only animal they could compare it to was the water buffalo of Africa. Buffalo are in large numbers today. By the end of the 1800's, fewer than 1,000 buffalo remained in North America. With the help of government programs, and many farms and ranches in the United States and Canada, that number has now grown to over 200,000.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Bison are the animals that roamed the US Great Plains and were nearly hunted to extinction. They're still around though.

    Buffalo is something that Americans call them, but real buffalo are native to Africa and Asia.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Taste............I prefer American Bison....

    Actually there are still Water buffalo..

    But in America there are Bison.............


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  • 1 decade ago

    buffalo are tasty

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  • 1 decade ago


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