New research indicates that domesticated horses originated in the steppes of what is now Ukraine, southwestern Russia and western Kazakhstan, mixing with local populations that spread across Europe and Asia.
For many decades, scientists have tried find the origin of domesticated horses. Based on archaeological evidence, it has long been thought that the domestication of horses originated in the western part of the Eurasian steppe(Ukraine, southwestern Russia and western Kazakhstan), but could not be prove it. On the other hand, a large number of female equine lineages were believed, which would have facilitated domestication in multiple regions. However, a single origin has appeared in a geographically restricted area.
- Horses running in Kazakhstan
In order to solve the puzzling history of the domestic horse, scientists at the University of Cambridge used a genetic database of more than 300 horses belonging to the Eurasian steppe to create a series of model scenarios.
This research shows that the wild ancestor of the domesticated horse, Equus ferus, it expanded outside East Asia about 160,000 years ago. They were also able to show that Equus ferus was domesticated in the western Eurasian steppe and that the herds were repeatedly reinstated with wild horses that ranged across Eurasia.
Dr. Vera Warmuth, from the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, says: “Our research clearly shows that the original founding population of domestic horses was established in the western Eurasian steppe, an area where ancient archaeological evidence of horse domestication has been found..
The spread of horse domestication differs in many ways from that of other domestic animals, in which herds spread together with wild horses in a climbing manner. If these repopulation events primarily involved wild mares, it could explain the large number of female lineages in domestic horse genes without having to resort to multiple domestication origins.”.
Researchers provide the first genetic evidence of domestication in a restricted geographic area of the Eurasian steppe, archaeologists suggest, and shows tremendous female diversity as a result of the subsequent introduction of local wild mares into domestic herds, resulting in conflict situations, evidence shows.
The research is funded by the BBSRC, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Leverhulme Trust.
Source: University of Cambridge
With a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, since I was a child I have been attracted to the world of information and audiovisual production. Passion for informing and being informed of what is happening in every corner of the planet. Likewise, I am pleased to be part of the creation of an audiovisual product that will later entertain or inform people. My interests include cinema, photography, the environment and, above all, history. I consider it essential to know the origin of things to know where we come from and where we are going. Special interest in curiosities, mysteries and anecdotal events in our history.