Hunting the wild radial tire

One traditional way to kill a lot of bison: Run them off the edge of a cliff. Now, anthropologists are studying the landing patterns of buffalo at a Montana kill site by recreating the hunt ... with the help of some old truck tires. (Via Alex Witze)


  1. I remember learning this in my college ‘Anthropology of the American Indian’ class – it really puts a damper on the trope that they were the original environmentalists.  The idea that hunters would drive entire herds off of cliffs and then pick through the remains stuck with me more than anything else.  The truth is that the Great Plains Indian populations were small enough such that their practices didn’t negatively impact the environment.  If there had been more of them, it would have caught up with them eventually. 

    On a side note, the Museum of the American Indian in DC is absolutely worth a visit.  I was fortunate enough to attend the opening ceremonies, and it was billed as the largest gathering of American Indians ever.  Tribes from all over the country came to tell their stories, and I got to speak with some Tlingit individuals from Alaska whom I spent a summer with back when I was younger and thought I’d never see again!

  2. Hmm, I can’t image dead bison roll quite as far as old tyres. Unless the Indians cut the bison’s legs off, then pushed them over the cliff. Which would seem unnecessarily cruel.
    I’m also disappointed that there is no video of students rolling hundreds of tyres off a cliff and trying to measure how far they got.
    “this one got half a mile before it fell over, wonder why the bison didn’t get so far. Conclusion : The indians ate all the bison that rolled a long way clear.”

  3. Clearly they haven’t seen the movie “Rubber” else they wouldn’t be taking such chances with those tires.

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