When was the horse tamed?

Ungulates, colloquially referred to as horses, have taken many forms over the millennia. Many species now extinct, such as the genera Myohippus, Hipparion and megahippuswalked the Earth to a single species, the species of domestic horses, Equus Caballus, is chosen by man and becomes the most numerous among the current horses.

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Remains horses servants in Central Asia, who lived 5500 years ago, proved ancient domestication from these animals. However, the analyzes DNA showed that these persons did not belong to same line asE. caballus. In order to determineorigin of today’s domestic horsesThe researchers analyzed the DNA of 273 horse fossils from several locations in Eurasia, ranging from 200 to 50,000 years old.

Genetic diversity… in the past

The results are published in the journal Nature found that there is indeed a great variety genetic in Eurasian horses from -2000 to -2200 years ago. After this period genetic profile horses originating from the north of the Caucasus spread geographically until they became the main profile, from Mongolia to the Atlantic. These domestic horses also spread to Asia at the same time as wagons and wagons. spoked wheel. Finally, the authors point out that domestic horses E. caballus were probably chosen by humans due to their more docile nature and increased durability, especially at the level spinecompared to wild horse populations.

The horse was tamed over five thousand years ago.

Traces from domestication The 5,500-year-old horses indicate that their domestication had an even greater impact on civilization than previously thought.

Article by Jean Etienne published March 07, 2009

Large herds of wild horses roamed the Central Asian steppes in the fourth millennium BC. This period corresponds to the end of the Neolithic era, and it was at this time that the people of the Botai culture first learned to tame them, 5500 years ago.

International research group with which (among others) the laboratory of archaeozoology works National Museum of Natural History Paris, discovered new traces of domestication in this region of northern Kazakhstan.

Among them are horse jaws with stigmata bit, formal proof of use. But if it is thus proved that these horses were riding horses, were they domesticated and did they come from breeding?

Significance for the history of civilizations

Alan Outram from the University of Exeter (UK), who has just published his findings in the journal The science, explains that the bones of horses of the Botai culture are very different from the bones of wild horses found in the same region. On the other hand, they are quite similar to the domestic horses of the era bronzewhich came 1500-2000 years later.

Thus, this casts doubt on their origin and nature and indicates that the people of the Botai culture were already selecting among these animals, favoring certain characteristics that gave advantages to their inhabitants. eyes.

This civilization, as well as subsequent ones, not only used horses as mounts, but also consumed their milk. Indeed, fat residues found on some Botai pottery show certain characteristics of mare’s milk in chemical and isotopic analysis. It is still used in the same region today and forms the basis for the production of koumiss, an alcoholic drink made from fermented mare’s milk.

Tracing the thousand-year history of the domestication of the horse, researchers pose new challenges for historians. It is indeed generally recognized that, by facilitating the movement of people, the art of commerce, as well as warfare, has undergone profound changes, with all the ensuing consequences for the development of civilizations.

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