Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Program

Geosciences

Date of Award

5-2014

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Jim I. Mead

Committee Members

Blaine W. Schubert, Steven C. Wallace

Abstract

Bison spp. (bison) fossils are scarce on the Colorado Plateau, especially within the greater Grand Canyon region. Because of the poor fossil record for bison on the plateau and in Grand Canyon National Park, various resource managers have surreptitiously designated bison a nonnative and human-introduced species. The lack of evidence for bison seems to be the result of collection bias rather than a true lack of bison remains. Today, Grand Canyon National Park has a neighboring herd of 350 bison that have meandered unwantedly onto National Park lands from neighboring Forest Service and State of Arizona lands. This study spatiotemporally illustrates bison are recently native to the greater Grand Canyon area based on previously misidentified specimens in archaeological collections. Data here may require resource managers to reconsider whether or not bison should be reconsidered a native species to the Grand Canyon National Park and elsewhere on the Colorado Plateau.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.