Date: Friday, February 23, 2018
Author: japantimes

All the world’s wild horses have gone extinct, according to a study that unexpectedly rewrites the horse family tree based on a new DNA analysis of their ancestry.

What most people thought were the last remaining wild horses on Earth — known as Przewalski’s horses — were actually domesticated horses that escaped their owners, said a report Thursday in the journal Science.

“This was a big surprise,” said co-author Sandra Olsen, curator-in-charge of the archaeology division of the Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas.

“This means there are no living wild horses on Earth — that’s the sad part,” said Olsen.

The study is based on archaeological work at two sites in northern Kazakhstan, called Botai and Krasnyi Yar, where scientists have found the earliest proof of horse domestication, going back more than 5,000 years.

To further dig into these roots, international researchers sequenced the genomes of 20 horses from the Botai — based on teeth and bones unearthed from the sites — and 22 horses from across Eurasia.

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