Scientists: Horse breeding in Eurasia began 4.2 thousand years ago Scientists: Horse breeding in Eurasia began 4.2 thousand years ago

Scientists: Horse breeding in Eurasia began 4.2 thousand years ago

Scientists: Horse breeding in Eurasia began 4.2 thousand years ago
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Russian and foreign paleontologists have found evidence that large-scale horse breeding in Eurasia began only 500 years after their domestication, that is, about 4.2 thousand years ago.

This was announced by the press service of the French National Center for Scientific Research.

“The information we collected confirms the theory of double domestication of horses,” said Ludovic Orlando, director of the Center for Anthropology and Genomics in Toulouse. “This first happened 5.5 thousand years ago due to a decline in the numbers of wild horses in the steppes of Central Asia, and modern domestic horses appeared 4.2 thousand years ago.”

The analysis confirmed that all modern variations of horses come from a small group of horses that were domesticated about 4.7 thousand years ago by ancient nomads who lived in the present-day Botai region in northeastern Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, geneticists discovered that over the next five hundred years, a very short period by historical and genetic standards, these horse breeds spread throughout Eurasia.

Genetic analysis showed that the rapid spread of these horses is due to the fact that Botai cattle breeders mastered the art of raising horses and learned to train them to reproduce as soon as possible. As a result, domesticated horse herds grew rapidly in size, eventually leading to the emergence and spread of the common ancestor of modern horses around the world.

Geneticists said the Botai tribes first bred horses as a food source, not as a means of transportation. The evidence for this is that the time of the beginning of their mass breeding coincides with a sharp decline in the number of wild horses due to the emergence of a dry climate in Asia during that period. The researchers concluded that other groups of nomads then began to use horses as mounts, leading to their extremely rapid spread throughout the ancient world.

Current estimates indicate that humans domesticated the horse about 4,000 or 5,000 years ago. Historians have long believed that their ancestors were Przewalski's horses (named after the famous Russian traveler Przewalski who discovered them), however, in 2018 geneticists found that modern horses are descended from the wild Botai horses that lived in northeastern Kazakhstan.

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