Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mystery Of Horse Domestication Solved?

Date:
April 24, 2009
Source:
Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB)
Summary:
Wild horses were domesticated in the Ponto-Caspian steppe region (today Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Romania) in the 3rd millennium B.C. Despite the pivotal role horses have played in the history of human societies, the process of their domestication is not well understood. In a new study, scientists have unraveled the mystery of the domestication of the horse.

Wild horses running in the desert mountains of Kazakhstan.
Credit: iStockphoto/Maxim Petrichuk

Wild horses were domesticated in the Ponto-Caspian steppe region (today Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Romania) in the 3rd millennium B.C. Despite the pivotal role horses have played in the history of human societies, the process of their domestication is not well understood.

In a new study published in the scientific journal Science, an analysis by German researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, the German Archaeological Institute, the Humboldt University Berlin, the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, in cooperation with American and Spanish scientists, has unravelled the mystery about the domestication of the horse.

Based on ancient DNA spanning the time between the Late Pleistocene and the Middle Ages, targeting nuclear genes responsible for coat colorations allows to shed light on the timing and place of horse domestication. Furthermore the study demonstrates how rapid the number of colorations increased as one result of the domestication. As well, it shows very clearly that the huge variability of coloration in domestic horses which can be observed today is a result of selective breeding by ancient farmers.

Our modern human societies were founded on the Neolithic revolution, which was the transformation of wild plants and animals into domestic ones available for human nutrition. Within all domestic animals, no other species has had such a significant impact on the warfare, transportation and communication capabilities of human societies as the horse.

For many millennia, horses were linked to human history changing societies on a continent-wide scale, be it with Alexander the Great’s or Genghis Khan’s armies invading most of Asia and Eastern Europe or Francis Pizarro destroying the Inca Empire with about 30 mounted warriors. The horse was a costly and prestigious animal in all times, featured in gifts from one sovereign to another as a nobleman’s mark.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Arne Ludwig, Melanie Pruvost, Monika Reissmann, Norbert Benecke, Gudrun A. Brockmann, Pedro Castaρos, Michael Cieslak, Sebastian Lippold, Laura Llorente, Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas, Montgomery Slatkin, and Michael Hofreiter. Coat Color Variation at the Beginning of Horse Domestication. Science, 2009; 324 (5926): 485 DOI: 10.1126/science.1172750

Cite This Page:

Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB). "Mystery Of Horse Domestication Solved?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090423142541.htm>.
Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB). (2009, April 24). Mystery Of Horse Domestication Solved?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090423142541.htm
Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB). "Mystery Of Horse Domestication Solved?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090423142541.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) — An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) — The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) — A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Newsy (July 23, 2014) — ​It's called I Know Where Your Cat Lives, and you can keep hitting the "Random Cat" button to find more real cats all over the world. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:  

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile iPhone Android Web
          Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins