A person who is not familiar with a buffalo and a bison may think that these two large creatures are same from each other. However, these two large animals are very different in terms of how they are raised, where they originated from, how they are treated, and how different cultures sees them aside from being a mere beast in the wild.
WHAT IS A BUFFALO?
Buffalos are regarded sacred by the Hindus that is why their meats are not used as food for humans. There are sacred rituals and practices that honor and praise these creatures especially in the Hindu religion and cultures. Buffalos are domesticated and are being used in the farms for plowing. They are a good source of milk and many other dairy products. Buffalos have a glossy coat and large horns that often reaches the size of the animal itself. Water buffalos are very common especially in the lands of Australia and some parts of South America.
WHAT IS A BISON?
A bison may look like a buffalo but they are completely different. Unlike the buffalos that are largely domesticated and cared by the people, bisons are wild and are often hunted close to extinction by the settlers of America. Their meats are eaten and horns are being used as decorative in human homes. They have large shaggy coats that shed off during the summer season. Unlike the buffalos, bisons have short horns and short legs that distinguish them from their buffalo cousins. They are often hunted on the plains of Asia, Africa, and North America. They are not domesticated but they are being held for breeding and to attract tourists as well.
There are two extant and four extinct species recognized. Of the four extinct species, three were North American; Bison antiquus, B. latifrons, and B. occidentalis. The fourth; the Bison. priscus ranged across steppe environments from Western Europe, through Central Asia, and onto North America.
There are two surviving species; the American bison, Bison bison, also known as the American buffalo, found only in North America, is the most numerous. It is named buffalo although it is only distantly related to the true buffalo. The North American species is composed of two subspecies, the plains bison, Bison bison bison, and the wood bison, Bison bison athabascae. The European bison Bison bonasus, or wisent is found in Europe and the Caucasus, re-introduced after being extinct in the wild.
Despite of their large differences, these two creatures may look almost the same to most people probably because of their similar structure and built. They also belong to the same family which is Bovidae.