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Are bison and buffalo two different animals or are they two names for the same animal?

There are differences, although the two names are commonly used interchangeably for the same animal. Bison are American buffaloes and are part of the Bovidae animal family to which cattle and goats belong, according to a Web site about bison by the University of Phoenix. They are not of the same family as Asian and African buffaloes, but because they are similar early explorers called them buffaloes and the name has stuck.

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