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Bison bison Metatarsal?

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  • Bison bison Metatarsal?

    I posted this in the "What Did I Find" forum also but thought I'd repost it here. I know it is a bovine metatarsal for sure, but is it Bison bison or Bos taurus (cow)? Found on a Southern Minnesota river gravel bar. 10 1/4" in length. It is partially mineralized by its weight (I have many others tarsals to compare it to).
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    Last edited by Sergeir; 09-11-2022, 06:16 PM.

  • #2
    I think you'll need a Forensic Biologist to tell the difference. Maybe someone here can tell the difference, they are very similar. Kim
    Knowledge is about how and where to find more Knowledge. Snyder County Pa.

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    • #3
      I don’t know how long it takes for such a bone to mineralize, but I’d expect a bison bone would have more time, since they are native to North America, whereas cows would not have arrived earlier than 16th century in America, and later than that in Mn. So, if you’re saying it’s fossilized, hard to see how it could be a cow.
      Last edited by CMD; 09-13-2022, 09:12 AM.
      Rhode Island

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      • #4
        Originally posted by CMD View Post
        I don’t know how long it takes for such a bone to mineralize, but I’d expect a bison bone would have more time, since they are native to North America, whereas cows would not have arrived earlier than 16th century in America, and later than that in Mn. So, if you’re saying it’s fossilized, hard to see how it could be a cow.
        Just clarify I'd say it's partially mineralized. Depending on which one you ask, most Paleontologists go with a standard that to be a fossil a bone must be greater than 10K years old. Which I'm sure this is not. So what I'm really getting at here is I need someone with the right osteology skills to see the difference between Bison bison or Bos taurus (cow). Because as Mattern indicates it is a tough comparison to make.

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        • #5
          Neat find. I would be sure it’s Bison. It is possible to tell the difference. Your bone is rather stout for Bos but the key diagnostics for Bison visible in your pictures are the poorly developed dorsal groove (#4 in the drawing below) and the prominent swelling adjacent to the distal condyles (#5 in the drawing):

          Click image for larger version

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          There’s a further diagnostic (not visible in your pictures) relating to the neck between the articulation facets at the proximal end:

          Click image for larger version

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          [Pictures from Harry Pristis on the Fossil Forum]
          I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

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