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October 2019
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ONLINE NEWSLETTER
 
FACT OR FICTION?
 
Fiction: Since bison are smaller and lighter on Catalina, they must have evolved into a different subspecies. Right?
 
Fact: The time span between the bison’s arrival on Catalina in 1924 and present day is insufficient for evolution to have occurred! It is true that Catalina bison tend to be smaller and lighter than their mainland counterparts, but this is primarily a result of a dramatically different habitat and limited foraging opportunities.
 
Catalina bison, when returned to their normal range, say, on the Great Plains, gain weight rapidly. Because they developed in less than ideal conditions, most remain undersized, or “stunted.” Their offspring, however, flourish amidst the tall and plentiful plains grasses and grow to be indistinguishable from mainland animals. It is possible, given tens of thousands of years that our bison could become genetically distinct from mainland animals—but of course, only time will tell.

Bison are the stars of this issue of The Island Naturalist but we also thought you'd enjoy finding out about one of the Island's oddest birds. To find out more, click here
THE ISLAND NATURALIST
Issue #1 / All About Bison

IN THIS ISSUE...
History on Catalina
By the numbers
Secret sex lives
Fact or Fiction?
Did you know...














 

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