1. Lofty says

    Poor Sparky the bison, taking godly punishment for some temporarily and geographically distant human homosexual act.

  2. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Poor Sparky the bison, taking godly punishment for some temporarily and geographically distant human homosexual act

    Pretty sure bison are one of the species homosexual behavior has been observed in.

  3. blf says

    As per “lightening never strikes twice in the same place”, standing next to that bison is one of the safest places you could be next time yer caught in storm. Doing so might even win you a Darwin Award.

  4. yoav says

    OT, but how long until Eugene Mccarthy crawl out of his hole and claim this Cuban pig is a proof for the validity of the MFAP hypothesis.

  5. Moggie says

    For you, being struck by lightning would be the worst day of your life. But for Sparky the Bison, it was Tuesday.

  6. dick says

    Thor couldn’t have been getting enough burnt offerings, or was it Baal or Yahweh? Anyway, whichever one it was, he must’ve tried to do it himself.

  7. Cuttlefish says

    I know four people who have been hit by lightning. Separate incidents.

    Three survived.

  8. says

    Ah, many millennia on the great plains and this stout animal has evolved the ability to survive lightning strikes. I’ve heard that its a similar recessive gene carried by some human males called the “MRA” that, in humans, results in the inability of the male brain to detect agency in the opposite sex. /truestory

  9. unclefrogy says

    I can see by the look in Sparky’s eye that bison are not at all like cattle and would never accept domestication.
    What would the Europeans have found when they “discovered ” the western hemisphere had there been such a powerful domesticated beast plowing the fields?
    uncle frogy

  10. Numenaster says

    @Chris #22, the lightning bolt may have killed the hair follicles in that area. Sparky could have a permanent bald spot.

  11. says


    I can see by the look in Sparky’s eye that bison are not at all like cattle and would never accept domestication.

    They accept it just fine. They’re pretty mellow beings, for the most part, with very bad eyesight (so smaller creatures, like us, need to be careful), but generally, they tend to be more well-tempered than cows.

  12. microraptor says

    I herd that the real difficulty in keeping bison in captivity is simply their tendency to knock over fences when they’re feeling bored or restless.

  13. unclefrogy says

    Caine if bison take to domestication so well, what kept them from being turned into draft animals or being kept like cattle?
    uncle frogy

  14. says

    Micoraptor @ 25: Yeah, they are best in large spaces, but they’ve been kept in [relatively] small ones, too. The Standing Rock Sioux, who have 260 buffalo, want to expand their buffalo to 1,000, but they want 20,000 acres for them, to be able to keep them in good health, with enough to eat, and not putting stress on the environment. Last I read, they were surveying the tribe’s game reserve, somewhere around 7,000 acres.

    Unclefrogy @ 26: draft animals? Really? Gosh, I’ll let ya know next time I see cows hooked up to a fucking carriage. As for why there weren’t great shouts of “hey, we’ll domesticate!”, that’s pretty fuckin’ simple: white men wanted to slaughter them. And they did. White men not only showed up to ‘hunt’, they shot at and killed buffalo from train windows, ffs. Perhaps if all the white dudes had shown some restraint…

  15. unclefrogy says

    domesticated animals were not invented “white people”
    nor was the idea of domesticating animals a monopoly idea of “white people”.
    There were people here for a long timer they were here along with the bison but they were never domesticated and never utilized as a draft animal in fact there were 0 zero draft animals save the sled dog here in the western hemisphere.
    Without a domesticated animal with which to harness to a plow farming was much more labor intensive and constrained.
    My question was an open wondering what would the Europeans have found if there had been draft animals already here?
    uncle frogy

  16. Lofty says

    It’s been a long time since I read Guns, Germs and Steel, but I remember Jared Diamond discussing why domesticated draught animals didn’t independently appear in the Americas. I suspect a few key innovations like fences, iron and the wheel would have helped too, and also there would have to be a significant cost advantage over lightly loaded and agile small groups of hunter gatherers on the grasslands where the buffalo roamed.

  17. microraptor says

    My understanding of the issue was that the civilizations that lived near bison were primarily nomadic and semi-nomadic hunter gatherers who had little need to try domesticating bison due to how readily available the animal was as a food source. The civilizations that depended on agriculture lived in places away from bison and didn’t have a chance to do so. Moreover, many of the larger agriculture based civilizations were located too far south for bison to thrive in the first place.

  18. microraptor says

    Caine @27:

    I was talking less about the space needed as the quality of materials needed. If you want to keep a bison herd, you need a much stronger fence than a herd of cattle would need.

  19. dianne says

    why domesticated draught animals didn’t independently appear in the Americas

    I thought the Incas used llamas and such. Am I wrong?

  20. microraptor says

    No. The llama was the largest animal in the Americas that was domesticated prior to the arrival of Europeans.

  21. says

    My pet buffalo, one, two.

    I don’t know Bailey, but I’ve been around a buffalo like him, very affectionate. As I said much earlier, they tend to be pretty mellow animals. I’d much rather deal with them than cows.

  22. Ice Swimmer says

    AFAIK, for example the Mandan and Arikara peoples lived in the great plains pre-contact and were semi-nomadic farmers, so at least some native agriculturalist cultures have coexisted with the buffaloes. Maybe the bison doesn’t respond well to being yoked, unlike oxen (oxen were used extensively in Eurasia for pulling carts and ploughs, compared to horses, they were slow, but cheaper to feed than horses).