AnchorBar front 1500

evolution, vestigial structures, and buffalo wing hunters

IF BUFFLAO WINGS WEREN’T SO DAMN SMALL that you can put a dozen of them into a basket in any bar in the country, whole herds could have es­caped slaughter at the hands of the white man during the 19th cen­tury by simply flying away! Ex­cept, of course, Amer­ican buf­falo aren’t buf­falo at all, they are bison (Bison bison).

So, is there a move­ment afoot to re­name the pop­ular tavern ap­pe­tizer “bison wings”? Hell no!

Why not? Be­cause Buf­falo (al­ways with a cap­ital ‘B’) wings have nothing to do with bison!

Leg­en­darily, this pop­ular plate was first pre­pared in 1964 at the An­chor Bar in Buf­falo, New York, by Ter­essa Bel­lis­simo. How­ever, in 1969 a local paper pub­lished a lengthy ar­ticle on the An­chor and made no men­tion of Buf­falo wings!

A less fre­quently re­counted origin is that John Young served his spe­cial “mambo sauce” chicken wings at his restau­rant in Buf­falo. This also sup­pos­edly oc­curred in the mid-‘60s and also cannot be ver­i­fied.

So what does this have to do with evo­lu­tion and ves­ti­gial struc­tures? Nothing! It’s just an ex­tended joke—the whole first para­graph above popped into my head when Berni told me that she had com­pli­mented a woman on her bison tee-shirt yes­terday, and the woman com­pli­mented her in re­turn by saying that Berni was the only person that knew that it was a bison, not a buf­falo …

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