Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 11

the internet and in print since the early
19th century simply repeated, without
question, the assertions of an earlier and
previous authority. One can gather and
scour all of these references without
finding citations to paleontological,
archaeological - including faunal,
historical - and ethnological evidence
that they had. But that is not to say that
the Seneca and other Iroquoians and
Algonquian people to the east did not
know of these animals, indirectly, since
the 16th century."
If bison were roaming through the
eastern woodlands and throughout
New York, then they would have left
evidence, Hamell said.
"You can't find a thing!" he emphasized.
A lack of paleontological and archeological evidence from the past 11,000
years suggests bison just weren't
around in New York, otherwise Native
Americans would have been using
them and there'd be evidence of them,
Hamell pointed out. All that turns up are
trophy skulls and hooves from buffalo
robes, items that likely were traded for
or brought east.
"The absence of bison evidence
doesn't mean they weren't here,"
Hamell said. "But the cards are stacked
against anyone who says bison were all
over the place."
McLaren, one of the three authors of
the 1985 Carnegie article and currently
collection manager for the Section of
Mammals at Carnegie, said she now
is even more unsure about bison in
Pennsylvania.
"The subspecies of bison found in
the United States are 'plains bison,'"
McLaren said. "Everything you read
about the habits and preferred habitat
of this subspecies points away from
MARCH 2020	

life in Pennsylvania. Herds did move
around, pursuing the best grazing sites
from one part of the year to another
and avoiding cold weather by moving
southward in the winter, but you don't
find much opportunity for grazing in
mature, extensive tracts of forest.
"In our article, we mentioned a
couple of authors who wrote much of
their material to entertain people who
would never see the places that are
described - and might not know anything of the biology of the animals that
are highlighted in these publications.
Add some Indians to the mix and the
stories got even more exotic.
"Based on things that I've learned in
the 34 years since we wrote that article,
I'd have to say that I've become more
skeptical about whether bison lived and
thrived here, as they did on the Great
Plains," McLaren emphasized.
At best, the western boundary of the
Commonwealth could have been on the
fringe of those vast herds, McLaren
said.
"The written accounts of bison in
Pennsylvania and place names are
confounding because there are enough
extensively researched archaeological sites in western Pennsylvania that
provide no record of bison, to make
many of us skeptical," McLaren noted.
"There is exciting new research that
will attempt to analyze DNA from the
soil at the Meadowcroft Rock Shelter
site in Washington County. Perhaps
work such as this will be the only way
we can get to the bottom of this question, but it is always harder to prove
that something wasn't present than to
prove it was."
Although the State Museum of
Pennsylvania has a bison exhibit in its
Mammal Hall, Walter Meshaka, the
11



Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 16
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Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 28
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Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 40
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Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2020 - Cover4
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