Mc Pheeters Antique Militaria
Home Page About Us Ordering Information Links

 

     

ICE AGE “BISON OCCIDENTALIS” BUFFALO SKULLS – ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED IN NORTHERN NEW MEXICO:  Recently obtained from an old Texas estate full of wonderful frontier period antiques, these skulls are relics from Ice Age North American Buffalo, more properly known as Bison Occidentalis, the immediate ancestor of the modern bison.  Present on the Great Plains and Tall Grass Prairie, the Bison Occidentalis was replaced by the modern buffalo, Bison Bison, some 5,000 years ago.  Considerably larger than the Bison Bison, the adult Bison Occidentalis stood approximately 7 ½ tall, weighing 3,500 pounds.  

It is interesting to note that it is believed that prior to the commercial buffalo hunts which occurred in the post-Civil War years, the primary cause of death other than natural causes were iced-over rivers.  Based on recoveries of skeletal remains, thousands of bison drowned when the enormous weight of herds crossing frozen rivers caused the ice to give way, and the animals were swept away to their death.  This would explain why so many of these remains are found in the banks and sandbars of rivers and their drainages.   

The configuration of these skulls and the set of the horn cores in relation to the cranium identify these skulls as the older Bison Occidentalis as opposed to the modern buffalo we know today.  One of the most common indicators of the Occidentalis is the position of the horn core tips – rather than being in line with the face of the skull as found on a modern buffalo skull, when a string or straight edge is placed from tip to tip on the horn cores of an Occidentalis skull there is a gap of as much as 2” between the resulting plane and the face of the skull.  Another indicator is the span between the tips of the core, an adult measuring in the 26-29” range.   

These Bison Occidentalis skulls would be nice pieces to display with a collection of early flint points or any collection of early frontier artifacts. 

I have the following skulls available, each described below with accompanying photographs.

 

no. 1  ICE AGE “BISON OCCIDENTALIS” BUFFALO SKULL – ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED IN NEBRASKA:  This skull was reportedly discovered in Nebraska, in a creek or river bank, sometime in the late 1960's or early 1970's.  Unfortunately, nothing more is known about the recovery. 

This skull retains more of its profile than the New Mexico skull shown below, to include a complete ocular orbit on the right side and partial ocular orbit on the left which retains the majority of the ocular rim.  The horn cores retain their profile with minimal wear at the tips, and it retains much more of the facial surface than does the New Mexico skull. 

This skull has the appropriate orientation of the horn cores to the face of the skull with a gap between the face and the core tip to tip line being 1 ½” and a span from tip to tip of 23”.

This skull has been coated with some sort of stabilizing agent, leaving the skull with a pleasing overall aged ivory color.  It is very stable with no weakness or movement at the skeletal joints, and it displays quite well.  (0101)  $850 

 

COMPARATIVE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE NEBRASKA AND NEW MEXICO SKULLS

The two skulls are very similar is width and mass.  I suspect, based on my experience aging modern wildlife skulls, that the Nebraska Bison died at an younger age than did the New Mexico Bison.  The facial cranial seam and the eye ducts on the New Mexico skull are filled in more than on the Nebraska skull and this filling is normally seen as a function of the aging process. 

 

no. 2  ICE AGE “BISON OCCIDENTALIS” BUFFALO SKULL – ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED IN NORTHERN NEW MEXICO:  This skull was found in northern New Mexico in a dry wash or arroyo sometime prior to 1970.  Unfortunately, nothing more is known about the recovery. 

This skull has the appropriate orientation of the horn cores to the face of the skull with a gap between the face and the core tip to tip line being 1 ½” and a span from tip to tip of 24”.  There appears to have been some erosion of the core tips and therefore some loss of the span, and too, this may have been a juvenile or sub-adult animal, and the skull therefore not as large as a fully matured adult.   

The bone has an almost petrified quality to it, with an even ivory-colored patina and a naturally polished sheen overall.  The bone is solid with no weak points and no fragile areas.  (0963)  $750

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ordering Instructions

Identified Items  

Firearms

Edged Weapons

Saddles and Horse Equipment

Accoutrements

Collectors Ammunition

Uniforms, Insignia, Hats

Canteens and Mess Gear

Gun tools, Bullet molds and Parts

Field Equipment and Artillery

Original Ordnance Manuals, and Photos 

US Army Medical

Reference Books and Reprints