Pre-History of the horse

The evolution and development of North American eco-systems definitely included horses! 25,000 year old frozen remains of horses identical to today's wild horses have been found  in the Arctic Tundra. 

Horses are generally believed to have become extinct in their land of origin about 8000 - 10,000 years ago - probably at the hands of the first human immigrants (if it ever could be proved that even one tiny pocket of original horses remained, it would make legal protections for this species so much easier - but so far, there is no such evidence). 

North America was the original home of the horse species. They evolved here, and thrived here for millions of years. The plant and animal communities of North American ecology evolved with horses playing an integral role. About 8,000 - 10,000 years ago (coinciding with Human settlement) they became extinct i the land of their origin, although luckily by that time they had migrated to Asia, where they spread into Europe and North Africa.

It was long believed that the pre-extinction American horse was a more primitive form and not the true horse of today. But that changed in September of 1993, when some placer miners in the Yukon uncovered a horse and paleontologists were called in. Initially, nobody thought too much about the well preserved, brownish red horse in the permafrost layer.

It didn't look different from any other horse that had died and been buried in the mud. Even the stomach contents were still in the gut, and the flaxen mane hung over the neck of the hide covered skeleton. Scientists might have been looking at a near carbon copy of some of the smaller wild horses in the West. Analysis revealed it was about 25,000 years old! proving that the horse is a true native species. 


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