The Bison of Beacon Hill Park

June 20, 2017 By Grant Keddie Introduction A very interesting specimen is recorded in the catalogue of the Vertebrate Zoology Collection of the Royal B.C. Museum for April 19th, 1932. It was the body of a three-day old bison donated by the Victoria Parks Department. It was the baby born in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park to its bison parents Victoria and Albert. Where did the Bison Come From? On November 9, 1928, William Straith, President of the Victoria Junior Chamber of Commerce, had advised the Victoria Park Committee that he had been trying to obtain two bison (buffalo) for the Beacon Hill Park Zoo. The Dominion (Federal) government allotted two from Alberta’s Buffalo National Park near Wainright where they had … Continue reading “The Bison of Beacon Hill Park”

Rise and Fall of the Beringian Steppe Bison

The widespread extinctions of large mammals at the end of the Pleistocene epoch have often been attributed to the depredations of humans; here we present genetic evidence that questions this assumption. We used ancient DNA and Bayesian techniques to reconstruct a detailed genetic history of bison throughout the late Pleistocene and Holocene epochs. Our analyses depict a large diverse population living throughout Beringia until around 37,000 years before the present, when the population’s genetic diversity began to decline dramatically. The timing of this decline correlates with environmental changes associated with the onset of the last glacial cycle, whereas archaeological evidence does not support the presence of large populations of humans in Eastern Beringia until more than 15,000 years later.

What Happened to the Mega Fauna?

June 14, 2016. By Grant Keddie Large animals, such as mammoths, mastodons, horses and camels that roamed North America near the end of the ice age are referred to as mega-fauna. Why these large animals went extinct has been widely debated but answers are beginning to emerge. New information is showing the answer is more complex than previously thought. Both climate change and human hunting play a role at different times in different places. Expanding and Shrinking – Habitat and Genes Before the appearance of humans on the northern landscapes we see that ecosystem stability for animal species generally persisted over long periods of time. During repeated sudden climate changes over the last few hundred thousand years of the Pleistocene (2.6 … Continue reading “What Happened to the Mega Fauna?”