Scientific Name: Bison bison athabascae
Artist/Maker/Manufacturer/Founder/Collector:Warburton Pike, 1892
Location: 80 km southwest of Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories
Catalogued: Sept. 17, 1912
Material/Medium/Support: Mounted skin, skeleton, skull-complete
Acquisition #: 1892-1
Catalogue #: CMNMA 299
Scientific Reference: C.G. van Zyll de Jong in “A Systematic Study of Recent Bison with Particular Consideration of the Wood Bison (Bison bison athabascae) Rhoads 1898″ publ in Nat Sci No.6, Nat Mus Can, Ottawa, 1986
Institution Name: Canadian Museum of Nature
The bison is an iconic Canadian animal. Tucked away in the fur vault of the Canadian Museum of Nature is a unique specimen of this majestic animal, a Wood Bison. This particular bison – an adult male – is special because it is the single specimen that was used when the wood bison subspecies (Bison bison athabascae) was formally described in 1897. As such, it is a “holotype”, the specimen designated as the name-bearing type of this nominal subspecies. It was collected in 1892 about 80 km southwest of Fort Resolution in the Northwest Territories.
As a holotype, scientists researching this subspecies use the Canadian Museum of Nature’s specimen as a point of reference. The bison must be preserved in a controlled-environment facility to protect it from the damage that can occur with prolonged exposure to light and heat. For this reason, it is no longer displayed publicly.
The Wood Bison are massive creatures, much heavier than their cousins, the Plains Bison. They are the largest Canadian terrestrial mammals. Five hundred years ago, they ranged over a large territory including much of the northern boreal forests of Canada. By the late 1800s, they were nearly eliminated as a result of the encroaching fur trade, excessive hunting and unusually heavy snowfalls. Today, the Wood Bison is included in a threatened species list compiled by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. There are now around 7,000 to 9,000 free-roaming wood bison in the wild, mainly due to conservation efforts by Canadian government agencies.
FREDERICK VERNER AND THE MYTHICAL BISON
Olivia C. Pipe,
M.A., Art History, Concordia University.
This text on bison focuses on the Canadian artist Frederick Verner (1836-1928). Verner’s …
2009. C-print. 18.5 x 18.5 cm.
Jamie Campbell, born and raised in Niagara Falls, received his Bachelor of Fine Arts …