Domestication of the horse
- Hi Folks
Since the kurgan hyothesis for the IE origins are so tied up with the
horse, I thought you people would be interested in the attached
Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 02:06 GMT 03:06 UK
Origins of domestic horse revealed
Cave paintings: An early sign that people valued horses
By Helen Briggs
BBC News Online science reporter
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.
A single, simple origin of horse domestication can be ruled out
Dr Peter Forster, Cambridge University
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
This is surprising because other domestic animals - such as cattle,
goats and sheep - show a much more restricted origin.
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.