Prehistoric horses came in leopard print | Science News

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Prehistoric horses came in leopard print

Cave paintings accurately depict dappled steeds

10:40am, November 9, 2011

Prehistoric painters probably weren’t taking artistic license when they painted polka-dotted horses on the walls of a French cave 25,000 years ago. A new analysis of DNA from the remains of 31 horses found in Europe and Siberia suggests that prehistoric horses came in bay, black and leopard-spotted at least 16,000 years ago.

Previous genetic studies had suggested that horses were either bay or black before domestication, and more elaborate patterns emerged as a result of breeding selection imposed by humans. That left many people wondering why dappled horses adorn the cave walls in Pech-Merle, France, because animals painted on cave walls

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