Yes Virginia, There IS a Difference Between Buffalo and Bison
I’m gonna pretend that I knew this already, but in case you’re wondering, there is a difference between buffalo and bison. Here’s the science to prove it.
Let’s begin with the actual Merriam-Webster definition of buffalo:
a large shaggy-maned North American bovid (B. bison) that has short horns and heavy forequarters with a large muscular hump and that was formerly abundant on the central and western plains
So, what about bison? Here’s the dictionary definition of that:
any of several large shaggy-maned usually gregarious recent or extinct bovine mammals (genus Bison) having a large head with short horns and heavy forequarters surmounted by a large fleshy hump
You can see where the confusion happens. The buffalo definition references bison and vice versa. To clear up this issue, we need to turn to the Brittanica website. In a nutshell, they share that bison have a hump near the shoulders while buffalo don’t. Plus, bison have thick beards while buffalo don’t.
So, there you go Virginia. Buffalo and bison are really different. Personally, I wouldn’t want to make either mad.