Bison vs. Buffalo, which one is it?
The “American Bison” is the proper name for the animal that early western settlers referred to as “buffalo”.
They called it buffalo because the bison resembled animals which they were familiar with from Africa and Asia – “cape buffalo” and “water buffalo”. While these animals do share similar characteristics, for instance, they are all considered bovines, they are not from the same species and have plenty of differences. For one, the American Bison is indigenous to North America.
However, because the word “buffalo” is so engrained in our language and culture, from the days of the Wild West and rolling plains, it is generally considered acceptable to use “buffalo” when referring to the American Bison.