The indigenous people of the prairies of North America originally fed on big game and buffalo. They hunted on foot before the horse was introduced to America by the Spanish in the 1500s [1, 2]. They took advantage of a characteristic of the buffalo: Buffaloes are herd animals. They follow the lead animal. Once the lead animal starts running, they all run after it. The Indians, “First Nations”, had special places where the prairie suddenly breaks off over a cliff. There they built fence-like obstacles that ran like a funnel from the prairie towards the cliff. Then they panicked the buffalo and drove them towards the obstacles. They all rushed after the lead animal. It ran, couldn’t stop in time and fell over the cliff, and they all fell after it to their doom. Down below, the hunters were waiting and could cut up the meat of the buffalo that had fallen to its death, and the hunt was over. When the Indians had horses, they applied the same principle, without fences, but with horses. In Montana there is a natural park called “Buffalo Jump” where many archaeological remains of this hunting technique have been found.
What was usually very convenient for the buffalo – relying on the experience of the leaders and the signals of the guards – was now their undoing.