Not surprisingly, such aspersions were indignantly met in America. Thomas Jefferson incorporated a furious (and, unless the context is understood, quite bewildering) rebuttal in his Notes on the State of Virginia, and induced his New Hampshire friend General John Sullivan to send twenty soldiers into the northern woods to find a bull moose to present to Buffon as proof of the stature and majesty of American quadrupeds.
It took the men two weeks to track down a suitable subject. The moose, when shot, unfortunately lacked the imposing horns that Jefferson had specified, but Sullivan thoughtfully included a rack of antlers from an elk or stag with the suggestion that these be attached instead. Who in France, after all, would know?
Meanwhile in Philadelphia—Wistar's city—naturalists had begun to assemble the bones of a giant elephant-like creature known at first as "the great American incognitum" but later identified, not quite correctly, as a mammoth. The first of these bones had been discovered at a place called Big Bone Lick in Kentucky, but soon others were turning up all over. America, it appeared, had once been the home of a truly substantial creature—one that would surely disprove Buffon's foolish Gallic contentions.