Memphis Moments
5:45 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Bison Fossils In The Mid-South

Bison Antiquus Skeleton

From Richardson’s Landing, TN, to Greenville, MS, the sand and gravel bars of the Mississippi River cut through old sediments in the riverbed and along its banks, exposing fossil remains of ancient bison that roamed the Mid-South at least 10,000 years ago. These ancestors of modern bison stood almost seven feet tall at the shoulder, and weighed around 2,000 pounds. 

Bison antiquus, or the ancient bison, arrived in North America around 250,000 years ago from eastern Asia. They eventually ranged from Florida to Oregon. Around 10,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, they disappeared from the Mid-South, finally dying-out around 5,000 years ago.

Thanks to the efforts of a group of amateur geologists, the Pink Palace is home to several ancient bison fossils. John Connaway and a group of friends collected fossils from the banks and sandbars of the Mississippi River for years. Recognizing the significance of their finds for research into the ice age in our region, they donated their collection to the Pink Palace.

You can learn more about bison and other giants of the ice age by visiting the Pink Palace, where there is an Ice Age exhibit, including some of these specimens, as well as the new IMAX movie, Titans of the Ice Age.

To learn more about our region's history, visit the Pink Palace Family of Museums, or or their Facebook page, or at http://memphismuseums.org.