Bison Vs Buffalo: Is There A Difference?
One of the most common questions we get from customers is about what the difference is between bison and buffalo. We’ve all heard both names used, and in North America they’re both correct. Although the proper term for the animal our company was founded on is the bison, the word buffalo is an interchangeable nickname if you’re in the United States.
At Beck & Bulow, we use both names, but have to admit that we gravitate towards using the word buffalo. We are the best online source for grass fed American buffalo meat.
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For us, the name buffalo resonates strongly. Apparently the rest of the country has felt this way for centuries, because the name has enjoyed some serious staying power even with its scientific inaccuracy. Sometimes cultural and colloquial language preferences with their traditional roots simply have what it takes to outshine scientific correctness.
You can see evidence of it throughout history. After all, it’s “give me a home where the buffalo roam”, not “where the bison roam”. American history is interwoven with buffalo nickels and buffalo soldiers. Think of the mountain lion, with its various regional names. Whether you know the big cat as a cougar, puma or panther, none of these terms is incorrect. The term buffalo evokes images of America long ago, and we like that. For the best quality buffalo meat hand cut by local butchers, look no further than Beck & Bulow.
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True buffalo are found elsewhere in the world besides North America. There are two varieties known as water buffalo and cape buffalo. Water buffalo are found in South Asia and Northern Africa. They have been largely domesticated for their meat, milk and hides. Water buffalo horns grow straight out to the sides and gently curve upwards.
The cape buffalo is found in sub-Saharan Africa from the west to the plains lands of southern and eastern Africa. Cape buffalo in the wild are known to be quite dangerous and aggressive. The horns of the cape buffalo grow downwards before growing back up, and older bulls have what’s called a “boss” where the horns form a solid mass over the forehead. We offer ethically raised, grass fed meat for home delivery.
Also Read: Cuts of Bison Meat: The Lowdown
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True buffalo and American bison are related and both members of the bovidae family. However they are distinctly different species with different global origins. It’s relatively easy to spot the differences between the two animals once you know what to look for. The American bison has a shaggy fur coat, a large hump and hulking front quarters, and a massive head. They also have smaller cattle-like horns and a beard.
The species of true Asian and African buffalo have smaller heads with long, sweeping horns. They also have smooth fur coats better suited for their warm homelands and do not have a beard. American bison shed their warm shaggy fur in the summer months, while the water buffalo and cape buffalo have no need to shed their sleek coats. For ethically raised, essentially wild buffalo meat, check out our online selections available for delivery.
Early American explorers saw bison and thinking they resembled the old world buffalo they were familiar with, began referring to them by this name. When explorers saw species of animals they had never encountered before, it was common practice to simply refer to them as whatever animal from their homeland they resembled the most.
Although some might feel this name is confusing, North America is not home to any true buffalo. For this reason, it’s used freely to describe the animal scientifically known as the bison. Both names enjoy such widespread use that they are both considered correct in the United States. Buy our beyond organic meat online today and experience the difference for yourself.
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The scientific name for the American plains bison is simply Bison bison bison. The northern subspecies known as the wood bison is named Bison bison athabascae. There is a species of bison native to certain parts of Europe that differs slightly in appearance from the two varieties in North America. Its scientific name is Bison bison bonasus.
This species is very closely related to the bison we are familiar with in the United States. The European bison is most commonly found in Poland. The population of around 1000 largely resides in an ancient woodland known as Bialowieza Primeval Forest across the border between Poland and Belarus. This species is also known as the zubr or the wisent.
The American buffalo is what our company was founded on, and we’re proud to offer ethically sourced buffalo meat, delivered straight to your door. Over time, we’ve responded to popular demands from our customers to provide other meats with the excellent quality standards that we consistently deliver. Check out our selections of pasture raised bison, elk, lamb, beef, wild boar and chicken today. Buy steaks and meat online with the certainty that you’re receiving the best quality and sourcing available.
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