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The origins of North America’s bison ‘invasion’

Long before humans set foot in North America, bison were the continent’s most powerful colonizers, thriving throughout the region and outcompeting some other grazers, like horses and mammoths. But precisely when that started has long been a mystery. After analyzing genomic evidence from more than 40 fossils, scientists now think the ancestors of the bison arrived sometime between 195,000 and 135,000 years ago, at least 120,000 years before humans, The New York Times reports. According to their study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it then took the animals about 20,000 years to spread throughout the continent. 

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