" In this original painting, I’ve captured an old bull doing a lip curl or Flehmen response. This is a common behavior in many mammals whereby curling their lip, they are able to transfer odors to an organ at the roof of their mouth known as the vomeronasal organ, or Jacobson’s organ. By doing this they can check to see whether a cow bison is nearing or in heat."
Bison, the national mammal of the United States, has long been an important part of the culture of North Americans, especially Native Americans who consider it a sacred animal and religious symbol. Among living mammals today, the bison or buffalo is the heaviest and second only to the moose in height.
Numbering six million in the late 18th century, the bison population was reduced to less than 600 by the late 1880s. Through conservation efforts and redistribution the wild bison numbers about 31,000 today.