with Horse and Hound

Domestication of Horses Traced to Steppes of Eastern Europe

A genetic study of horses combined with mathematical analysis of various scenarios has traced the domestication of horses to the wide open grasslands of southwestern Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

Domestication is generally thought to have occurred about six thousand years ago, but the new evidence suggests that it may have taken place independently in different places within that geographic area.

The study, which was performed at the University of Cambridge, examined DNA from horse hair collected over a sixteen year period. Samples were taken from more than three hundred “local village-type horses” in the expectation they would have less crossbreeding confusion in their genetic profiles.

For more information, read the Associated Press report by Rafael Satter.

Posted May 8, 2012