Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Origins of Domestic Horse Revealed
BBC News ^ | 16 July 2002 | Helen Briggs

Posted on 07/16/2002 7:03:04 PM PDT by jimtorr

The story of how wild horses were tamed by ancient people has been pieced together by gene hunters.

DNA evidence shows modern horses are descended from not one but several wild populations.

It suggests horses were domesticated - for meat, milk or to carry loads - in more than one place.

As few as 77 wild mares passed on their genes to today's modern horse breeds, from the American mustang to the Shetland pony.

"We see traces of original wild populations of horses that have been incorporated into the domestic horses of today," says co-researcher Dr Peter Forster of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, UK.

He believes it resolves the debate over whether horses were domesticated from one world population or from several.

"The genetic evidence shows that wild horses were recruited for domestication from different areas of the world," he told BBC News Online. "A single, simple origin of horse domestication can be ruled out."

This is surprising because other domestic animals - such as cattle, goats and sheep - show a much more restricted origin.

Molecular clock

The evidence is based on a genetic analysis of more than 300 horses, from 25 horse breeds and varieties in seven countries, including Europe, Morocco and the USA.

DNA samples were compared with ancient DNA from wild horses living in Sweden and Estonia about 2,000 years ago, and 28,000-year-old horse remains preserved in Alaskan ice.

A standard laboratory technique was used to work out the rate of mutation of the mitochondrial DNA of horses over the course of time.

This scrap of genetic material is found outside of the cell's nucleus and is passed only from mother to child. It accumulates mutations at a known rate, acting as a "molecular clock" for a species, and allowing maternal ancestry to be traced.

The Cambridge team, working with colleagues in Germany, believe 77 wild mares or more were the original breeding stock of domesticated horses.

They were very different in terms of their genes, suggesting that several distinct horse populations were first captured from the wild.

Early nomads

The next step, says Dr Forster, is to pinpoint when this took place. This has proved difficult until now, largely because of the poor fossil record for the horse family.

The first undisputed evidence for the domestication of the horse dates back to 2,000 BC, when horses were buried with chariots.

By 1,000 BC, domestication had spread through Europe, Asia and North Africa.

However, some experts believe horses were domesticated much earlier, on the Eurasian Steppes in the Near East between 4,500 and 2,500 BC.

They may have been used as pack animals, helping ancient people lead a nomadic way of life, or to provide milk, meat and skins.

Full details of the research are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.


TOPICS: History; Miscellaneous; Pets/Animals; Science; Society
KEYWORDS: godsgravesglyphs; helixmakemineadouble; history; horse
I don't neccesarily agree with researchers conclusions that mitochondrial DNA evidence of ancient populations is conclusive. IMHO it is merely indicative. This appears to be, however, the first evidence of any kind that horses were domesticated in a number of places around the world independently.
1 posted on 07/16/2002 7:03:04 PM PDT by jimtorr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: jimtorr
The Sumerians used Onagers, not horses, to pull their chariots. Was that because they did not have horses, or did they think onagers were a better animal for the job?
2 posted on 07/16/2002 7:05:07 PM PDT by jimtorr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jimtorr
Why not? Some one saw some one else riding a horse and thought, "Hey, I have got to get me one of those!" Since there were lots of horse herds around no problem in getting one. Training was probably another matter.

Domesticating goats or cattle would have been a different matter as their uses would have been more subtle. You would have needed interaction with the herders and therefore would have likely ended up not catching your own cattle but trading for the offspring of theirs.

a.cricket

3 posted on 07/16/2002 7:16:48 PM PDT by another cricket
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jimtorr; Inge_CAV
The number 77 seems to be equivalent to cutting something with an axe and then measuring the cuts with a micrometer... but anyway...

CAV... our horses are cousins!
4 posted on 07/16/2002 7:24:58 PM PDT by HairOfTheDog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jimtorr
30,000 year old image of horce from Chauvet cave, Ardeche,France


5 posted on 07/16/2002 8:25:23 PM PDT by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
I have always wondered whether the horses painted on cave walls were there because they were hunted for food, or if maybe some of them were more than that.
6 posted on 07/16/2002 8:49:10 PM PDT by jimtorr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: jimtorr
"I have always wondered whether the horses painted on cave walls were there because they were hunted for food, or if maybe some of them were more than that."

I have too. More horses from Chauvet cave.


7 posted on 07/16/2002 9:09:24 PM PDT by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: HairOfTheDog
"CAV... our horses are cousins!"

Long lost relatives and it is time for a reunion....... : )


8 posted on 07/17/2002 6:26:09 AM PDT by Inge_CAV
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: jimtorr
WB and TBX Bump
9 posted on 07/17/2002 10:10:49 AM PDT by kinsman redeemer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
That's one of the paintings that is really intriguing. The artist obviously spent time observing a horse herd. Actually, it looks more like there were more than one artists.
10 posted on 07/17/2002 6:55:33 PM PDT by jimtorr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

Just updating the GGG information, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
Gods, Graves, Glyphs PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

11 posted on 02/05/2006 8:13:51 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Islam is medieval fascism, and the Koran is a medieval Mein Kampf.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

When did the horse get to America? Did the Native Americans Really Have the Horse Before Columbus?
Yuri Kuchinsky's web pages | circa 1998 | Yuri Kuchinsky
Posted on 11/29/2005 8:24:25 PM PST by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/1530960/posts


12 posted on 02/05/2006 8:21:44 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Islam is medieval fascism, and the Koran is a medieval Mein Kampf.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


· GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach ·
· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic · subscribe ·

 
 Antiquity Journal
 & archive
 Archaeologica
 Archaeology
 Archaeology Channel
 BAR
 Bronze Age Forum
 Discover
 Dogpile
 Eurekalert
 Google
 LiveScience
 Mirabilis.ca
 Nat Geographic
 PhysOrg
 Science Daily
 Science News
 Texas AM
 Yahoo
 Excerpt, or Link only?
 


Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
 

· History topic · history keyword · archaeology keyword · paleontology keyword ·
· Science topic · science keyword · Books/Literature topic · pages keyword ·


13 posted on 04/30/2011 4:36:25 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson