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The last wild horses aren’t truly wild

DNA study finds that Przewalski’s horses had a tame ancestor

2:00pm, February 22, 2018
Przewalski’s horses

RETURN TO THE WILD The Przewalski’s horses of Central Asia, long thought to be the last always wild equine, are actually a feral population descended from horses tamed long ago, DNA reveals.

When it comes to wild claims, hold your horses.

Free-roaming Przewalski’s horses of Central Asia are often called the last of the wild horses, the only living equines never domesticated. But a new genetic analysis of ancient horse bones suggests that these horses have a tamed ancestor after all, making them feral rather than wild.

The findings also debunk the idea that these domesticated ancestors — known as Botai horses —gave rise to all other modern horses. That leaves the progenitors of today’s domesticated horses a mystery, researchers report online February 22 in Science.

The earliest known domesticated horses were those of the ancient Botai people in northern Kazakhstan (SN: 3/28/09, p. 15). Botai sites dating

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