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As the American Buffalo Declined, Its Symbolism Rose

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As the American Buffalo Declined, Its Symbolism Rose

Short | 01:12

Over the years, the American buffalo, or bison, has been a symbol of the American frontier. As their numbers shrank, they began appearing on everything from the nickel to stamps to the $10 bill.

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For thousands of years, the Great Plains were home to countless numbers of American bison, but in the late 1800s, the number of bison dropped from nearly 30 million to just a few hundred in less than 100 years. What happened to place this national icon on the brink of extinction? Join us as we detail the events that led to this mass extermination. Then follow the story of William Temple Hornaday, a chief taxidermist at the Smithsonian Institution who headed west to hunt bison for the museum, but ended up saving the species instead.

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