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Horses may have been domesticated twice, but only one attempt was successful


Horses domesticated twice one attempt successful

Researchers reveal in Nature on June 6 that horses were domesticated at least twice. Hunter-gatherers from Botai, Central Asia, may have been the first people to domesticate animals for milk and meat 5,000 years ago, according to genetic evidence.

That effort was unsuccessful. Researchers found that about 4,200 years ago, people north of the Caucasus Mountains domesticated horses for transportation.

The equestrian world was enthralled by the later horses. They supplanted their untamed counterparts and evolved into the contemporary domestic horse in a matter of centuries.

According to Ludovic Orlando, a molecular archaeologist and the director of Toulouse, France's Center for Anthropobiology and Genomics, the results challenge long-held beliefs about the domestication of horses. The Yamnaya, an ancient culture from southwest Asia, were the first people to ride horses.

The Yamnaya were pioneers who settled in Europe and Asia around 5,000 years ago, traveling on arid grasslands with cattle-drawn carts. They also contributed to the development of important Bronze Age European cultures. The Indo-Europeans helped spread their languages and left a genetic legacy that increases the risk of Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis in modern people.

Orlando and his colleagues counter that none of those occurred while riding a horse. It's simply not the right moment. The scientists looked at the DNA of 77 contemporary horses and 475 ancient horses that date back up to 50,000 years. The team used DNA study, archaeological findings, and carbon dating to create a timeline for horse domestication.


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