The last wild horses aren’t truly wild

November 15, 2016by admin8
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DNA study finds that Przewalski’s horses had a tame ancestor

BY  ERIKA ENGELHAUPT 2:00PM, FEBRUARY 22, 2018

When it comes to wild claims, hold your horses.

Free-roaming Przewalski’s horses of Central Asia are often called the last of the wild horses, the only living equines never domesticated. But a new genetic analysis of ancient horse bones suggests that these horses have a tamed ancestor after all, making them feral rather than wild.

The findings also debunk the idea that these domesticated ancestors — known as Botai horses —gave rise to all other modern horses. That leaves the progenitors of today’s domesticated horses a mystery, researchers report online February 22 in Science.

The earliest known domesticated horses were those of the ancient Botai people in northern Kazakhstan (SN: 3/28/09, p. 15). Botai sites dating to around 5,500 years ago are scattered with remnants of harnesses and pots with horse-milk residue, suggesting the animals provided both transportation and food.

To see how Botai horses relate to today’s steeds, evolutionary geneticist Ludovic Orlando of the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen and colleagues analyzed DNA from 88 horses spanning the last 5,000 years or so across Europe and Asia. Horses from the last 4,000 years had less than 3 percent Botai ancestry, suggesting that different and unknown horses founded today’s populations. But Botai horses are direct ancestors of Przewalski’s horses, the study found.

SPOTTY HISTORY While studying the DNA of ancient horses, scientists found that some of the ancestors of today’s Przewalski’s horses would have had spotted coats like a Dalmatian, as re-created in this illustration using a Przewalski’s horse. That coat pattern was lost once these horses returned to the wild.

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8 comments

  • admin

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  • admin

    September 8, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Nam liber tempor cum soluta nobis eleifend option congue nihil imperdiet doming id quod mazim placerat facer possim assum. Typi non habent claritatem insitam; est usus legentis in iis qui facit eorum claritatem. Investigationes demonstraverunt lectores legere me lius quod ii legunt saepius. Claritas est etiam processus dynamicus, qui sequitur mutationem consuetudium lectorum. Mirum est notare quam littera gothica, quam nunc putamus parum claram, anteposuerit litterarum formas humanitatis per seacula quarta decima et quinta decima. Eodem modo typi, qui nunc nobis videntur parum clari, fiant sollemnes in futurum.

    Reply

  • admin

    September 8, 2015 at 10:44 am

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    • admin

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      • admin

        September 8, 2015 at 10:45 am

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  • admin

    September 8, 2015 at 10:44 am

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    • admin

      September 8, 2015 at 10:45 am

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      • admin

        September 8, 2015 at 10:45 am

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