Perhaps no other animal symbolizes the West as dramatically as the American Bison. Because American bison resembled in some ways old world buffalo (Asian and African buffalo), early explorers to North America began to call them buffalo. Athough it is a misnomer, the name buffalo is still used interchangeably with bison. One of the physical differences between the old world buffalo and the American bison is the large shoulder hump of the bison. This hump, along with a broad, massive head, short thick neck and small hindquarters give the animal its rugged appearance.