New York: Archaeologists have uncovered what they believe are the bones of a 13,000- to 14,000-year-old ancient, extinct species of bison in the US.
Bison antiquus, sometimes referred to as the 'ancient bison,' was the most common large herbivore of the North American continent for more than 10,000 years, and is a direct ancestor of the living American bison.
They were approximately eight feet tall, 15 feet long and weighed close to 1,588 kgs.
"We couldn't have asked for a better representative species from that era," lead archaeologist said Andrew Hemmings from Florida Atlantic University said in an official statement.
The scientists made this discovery just 10 feet below the ground's surface during the final stretch of the 2016 excavation efforts at the Old Vero Man Site in Vero Beach, Florida.
The bone was found below a layer that contained material from the Pleistocene period when the last ice age was thought to have occurred.
The archaeologists identified the bison using an upper molar, which is thought to be representative of a Bison antiquus, a direct ancestor of the American bison that roamed North America until it became extinct.
Because bison was a grassland-adapted animal, nearly 100 percent of their bones disintegrated after death unless they were preserved in some way.
"This finding is especially significant because of the meticulous documentation that has been involved," principal investigator James Adovasio from Florida Atlantic University said.
"Along with the fact that bones like this have never been found on land as part of a calculated archaeological effort. Others like this have all been found underwater, in sinkholes or streams," Adovasio said.