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Summer Travels of a Bison Researcher, by Jeff M. Martin

Published on July 22, 2016 under Current Research
Summer Travels of a Bison Researcher, by Jeff M. Martin

This June and July, I was visiting the summer conference jointly hosted by the National Bison Association and Minnesota Buffalo Association in Elk River, Minnesota and continued to Wind Cave National Park in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota.

In Minnesota, I met with 200 bison ranchers from all over North America, where I presented some of my research on bison body size adaptation to climate change. Many great questions and comments were made around this conversation. I thank all of the participants and attendees of the conference and I hope to see all of them again soon!

In South Dakota, I was graciously hosted by The Mammoth Site and staff. There, I gave a similar talk to the interns, interpreters, and other guests that could attend. Dr. Jim Mead, Chief Scientist/Site Director of The Mammoth Site and I are in collaboration on a number of bison-related projects and manuscripts. The main purpose for my visit to Wind Cave National Park was to dissect and measure the lower legs of deceased bison in the Park. In all, I visited 22 carcass locations and found the bones I was looking for on 16 of them.

In the coming weeks, I will digitally process the data I collected by entering the measurements into my existing database of nearly 1200 specimens. These individuals provide a comparative baseline of modern specimens to the fossils in Persistence Cave, Wind Cave National Park and around North America.

Figure 2. Me and a femur (upper leg bone). Photo credit: Jim I. Mead.

Figure 2. Me and a femur (upper leg bone). Photo credit: Jim I. Mead.

Many folks have supported my works over the years, especially for the project I am working on now. I thank The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD, the Wind Cave National Park, the University of Maine and the Climate Change Institute, the Minnesota Buffalo Association, the National Bison Association, and the Larry D. Agenbroad Legacy Fund.

Figure 3. Measuring set up in the field. Calcaneum on the measuring board. Photo credit: Jim I. Mead.

Figure 3. Measuring set up in the field. Calcaneum on the measuring board. Photo credit: Jim I. Mead.

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