Abundant Wildlife Species Call Yellowstone National Park Home

Yellowstone National Park is home to many different types of plants and animals. From birds like osprey to trees like the lodgepole pine, it is truly a shelter and sanctuary for many species.

One of the numerous animals found in Yellowstone is the pronghorn. Pronghorns look similar to antelope not just because they are closely related but also because they both have slender bodies and strong legs which help them to escape fast predators like the giant short-faced bear. Pronghorns can sprint up to 60 miles per hour, in fact.

Another animal found in Yellowstone is the cutthroat trout, which inhabits Yellowstone's streams. There are 14 subspecies of the cutthroat trout. Researchers suggest that the original cutthroat trout most likely evolved into the different subspecies following the most recent glacial period. The growing and shrinking of ice caused lakes and rivers to shift, thus spurring the creation of smaller pools of water where the trout could evolve separately.

One of the many plants that lives in Yellowstone is the yellow monkeyflower. Plants rooted in heated soil seem to blossom sooner, and warmth from Yellowstone’s hot springs heats up the ground for the monkeyflower. The geothermally heated soil also causes the flower to bloom closer to the ground. This allows the yellow monkeyflower to grow and cross-pollinate, thus resulting in new species of monkeyflowers.

Yellowstone is not only a living space for animals and flowers but also for trees. One of the most common trees in Yellowstone is the lodgepole pine. This tree has an interesting technique to withstand fire. In the event of a forest fire, the lodgepole pine releases seeds when it heats to a temperature between 113 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This ensures that new trees will grow, even if the older ones burn. A brand new wave of pines is currently replacing those that burned in 1988, which was the most recent forest fire in Yellowstone.

All in all, Yellowstone National Park is a wonderful vacation spot with thrilling attractions and stunning plants and animals. From its osprey to its bison and its hot springs to its monkeyflowers, this is definitely one park to put on your bucket list.

[Source: Smithsonian]