PAGES IN WILD HORSE (MUSTANG) HISTORY SECTION:
Beginning: Menu  Pre-History  Domestication  Return to America  Return to the Wild   Mid-1800's to 1970   The Creation of the BLM Wild Horse & Burro Program   Wild Horses & Burros in the 21st Century

Alternative Histories   Our Mustang Heritage

 

PRE-HISTORY OF THE HORSE

North America was the original home of the horse species. Horses evolved here, and equine species thrived here for over 57 million years. The plant and animal communities of North American ecology evolved with horses playing an integral role.

About 8,000 - 10,000 years ago, for reasons not yet fully understood (meteors, climate change, disease pandemic, and human hunting pressures are among the possibilities), horses are believed* to have become extinct in the land of their origin. Luckily by that time they had migrated to Asia, where they spread into Europe and North Africa.

(* see "Alternative Histories")


Photos from Beringea interpretive Center
 


illustration from www.darwiniana.org/horses.htm  

For more, see these:
Yukon Beringea Interpretive Center
Yukon Beringea Center Research on The Yukon Horse
 

Dr. Deb Bennett's Horse Evolution article
(very technical)

Ancient horse bones are turning up many places. Here is a story from the Las Vegas area

Links to source articles and more information:

LEARN MORE:

  • CLICK HERE for the Oxford Journal's article about genetic research into horse origins
  • CLICK HERE for the Oxford Journal's article exploring horse genetics
  • CLICK HERE to read a "Science Daily" article about prehistoric domestication of the horse

 


http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/prehistory

 

During the Pleistocene Era, there were more than 50 species of equids in the Americas.
Now there are, worldwide, only 7
(or 8, depending on how you classify Przewalski's. Some consider it a separate species, others say it is a subspecies of equus caballus)