Event Details

Learning Forum: Prehistoric Bison

February 16, 2020  2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Learning Forums are thought-provoking presentations on a wide variety of topics. Each program features a 45-minute presentation, followed by an open forum with questions and discussion about the topic.

This week, Dr. Jim Mead from the Mammoth Site presents, "Prehistoric Bison."

Did you know that the smallest bison to ever exist is the one we see alive today? They used to be much bigger!

Dr. Mead will reveal the evolution and migration of bison from when they left eastern Asia and crossed the Bering Land Bridge into Alaska and the Yukon. When the Ice Age glaciers melted away just enough, bison entered greater North America and dispersed south to Florida and Mexico. But they also came to the Upper Great Plains, especially the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming!

Mead has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a master’s in geosciences. In 1983, he earned a doctorate in geosciences and paleontology from the University of Arizona, Tucson. During his 33 years of academic work, he was chair and developer of the Department of Geosciences at East Tennessee State University. He spent 25 years at Northern Arizona University as the geology department chair and as director of the Quaternary Sciences Program.

In 2016, he became Director of Research at The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, where he helped establish the locality on day one in 1974. Ever since, he’s worked on Ice Age (Pleistocene) biotic community reconstructions in the Grand Canyon based mainly on cave excavations.

With over 160 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters including four books, Mead has focused on Ice Age mammal, reptile, and amphibian fossils from the USA, northern Mexico, Western Australia, China, Vanuatu, and The Bahamas. Current research includes studies about Ice Age faunas and environments from Black Hills region, dry caves of the Southwest, Grand Canyon, Sonora (Mexico), Abaco (Bahamas), and caves in Guangxi (southern China).

Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, half-off for members. Call 605-394-6923 to reserve tickets.

For more Learning Forums, click here.

Theater map below. Seats marked ADA indicate wheelchair accessibility. Blue seats indicate space for foldout chairs, but those with ADA requirements take first priority.

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The Journey Museum and Learning Center regularly adds new events, exhibits, and features to the expansive museum, covering American history, Black Hills history, and Native American culture.

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The Journey Museum is currently in Winter Hours:

Winter Hours

(October 1st – April 30th)
10 AM – 5 PM Monday through Saturday
1 PM – 5 PM Sundays

Summer Hours

(May 1st – September 30th)
9 AM – 6 PM Monday through Saturday
11 AM – 5 PM Sundays


All individual admissions are good for two days with receipt.

Museum General Admission:

Adults (ages 18+) $10
Seniors (ages 62+) $8
Students (ages 6 – 17) $7
Children 5 & under FREE with family

Groups (10+ people):

$7 per person

Tour guides available. Please call (605) 394-6923 one week prior to visit to schedule.

Education Groups (12+ students):

$3 per student (all students 18 and under)
$5 College Students

Chaperones are requested. Special pricing will be extended to adult chaperones.

Tour guides available. Please call (605) 394-6923 one week prior to visit to schedule.