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View Full Version : Domestic horses were introduced in the southern Caucasus and Anatolia during the BA



Bygdedweller
18-09-20, 01:08
Didn't see this rather fresh and interesting study posted anywhere. The full paper is available here (https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/38/eabb0030).

Abstract:
"Despite the important roles that horses have played in human history, particularly in the spread of languages and cultures, and correspondingly intensive research on this topic, the origin of domestic horses remains elusive. Several domestication centers have been hypothesized, but most of these have been invalidated through recent paleogenetic studies. Anatolia is a region with an extended history of horse exploitation that has been considered a candidate for the origins of domestic horses but has never been subject to detailed investigation. Our paleogenetic study of pre- and protohistoric horses in Anatolia and the Caucasus, based on a diachronic sample from the early Neolithic to the Iron Age (~8000 to ~1000 BCE) that encompasses the presumed transition from wild to domestic horses (4000 to 3000 BCE), shows the rapid and large-scale introduction of domestic horses at the end of the third millennium BCE. Thus, our results argue strongly against autochthonous independent domestication of horses in Anatolia."

So far I haven't been able to go through and digest it all, but the paper seems to strongly hint that the PC-steppe was the origin of domestic horses in Anatolia. Davidski from Eurogenes has a written a short post (https://eurogenes.blogspot.com/2020/09/domestic-horses-were-introduced-into.html) about this as well.

Carlos
18-09-20, 14:08
The original horse population of the Iberian Peninsula has been completely replaced by domesticated animals from other regions. No trace of it remains among current horses, according to research that has reconstructed the history of the species from genome analysis.

From the 8th century, coinciding with the Muslim conquests, horses of Persian origin spread. The breeds of horses considered European, such as the popular Dutch Frisians or those of pure Spanish breed, are descendants of those Persian horses. On the contrary, there remains no trace of the autochthonous horses that lived in the Iberian Peninsula in the Bronze Age.


The research, presented today in the journal Cell, confirms that there are no wild horses left anywhere in the world and shows how today's horse genomes reflect the history of humanity.

Horses have lost 16% of their genetic diversity in the last two centuries

The results of the research, in which scientists from 85 institutions in 25 countries have participated, reveal that the horses of the past were neither as fast nor as slender as those of today, since the genetic variants that favor these characteristics do not they have been selected up to the last thousand years. The work has analyzed the genomes of 278 equidae from the last 42,000 years, which makes it the most complete genomic study of any species with the exception of humans.

All current horses descend from a single wild population


“This is the most important lesson that emerges from the research”, highlights Tomàs Marquès-Bonet, director of the Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (UPF-CSIC) in Barcelona and co-author of the work. "Today's horses are not descended from several populations domesticated in different places but from a single population that has replaced all the others because it had characteristics that were considered better."


In Asia, the horses of the Mongol Empire of Genghis Khan of the thirteenth century are also descendants of the Persian stock. The Przewalski breed, which were considered the last remaining wild horses, are actually descendants of domesticated animals that were released, such as mustangs in North America.

The horses of Roman times were neither as fast nor as lean as those of today

In the last millennium there has been a deliberate selection of favorable traits in horse breeding. Y chromosome diversity is reduced, indicating that a minority of males are selected as studs. Genetic variants associated with speed are generalized. And changes are observed in eleven genes that regulate body development, including some that affect the formation of the vertebrae and cervicals.



But "the most surprising result of the research", according to Ludovic Orlando, is that horses have lost 16% of their genetic diversity in the last two centuries. "Ancient equestrian civilizations conserved a high genetic diversity, which has remained constant for most of the last 4,000 years, but has decreased significantly in recent centuries coinciding with the development of closed breeds and modern breeding techniques."


This shows, according to the director of the investigation, that "the history of domestic animals cannot be fully understood without analyzing ancient DNA data." Orlando recalls that "a horse from today and a horse from two thousand years ago are actually quite different", because "we have changed their genome more in recent centuries than in the previous thousands of years of domestication."


https://www.lavanguardia.com/ciencia/20190502/461998078006/genoma-historia-caballo-iberico.html