RE: Equids

whittet (
23 Dec 1994 14:39:15 GMT

In article <3d811t$>, "WIlliam C. Wilson" <> says:
> It is my understanding that the pre-clovis (>12,000 yr)sites
>are still not accepted as valid.

There are some thirty 25,000 BP + sites listed in the "Times Atlas of
Archaeology", Hammond, Maplewood, NJ., 1988, This is a fairly conservative
reference base.

This places man in the new world we
>well before the extinction of the horse.

If you have a firm date for the extinction of the horse in the
New World, I would be delighted to see have you cite your sources.

It is my understanding
>that the peoples involved are from the north west regions of
>Siberia and functioned as big game hunters on the tundra and in
>Taiga as the glaciers retreated.

This is a great theory, except that there have been no sites discovered
in that area, at that time, with sufficient populations to serve as
a base from which to migrate. It actually would work better coming
from east to west.

There are relatively more sites, if you drop down as far as the
island chains along the northern edge of the Pacific Rim. This
makes it clear that Maritime diffusion is an excellent prospect
for explaining where the people came from to poulate the Americas.

The horse domesticaters, @6000 yrs
>later, were herders on the edge of the Ukrainian plains.

Actually, although the earliest evidence for the domestication of the
horse consists of bridles from sites in Siberia, circa 6500 BC, there
is considerable evidence, tooth wear, various bone lesions, that suggests
the horse was domesticated from at least four places independently.

Horse I, Horse II, Przewalski's Horse and the Tarpan, in Europe, Western
Asia, Eastern Asia and Siberia. The dominent iron age horse traders
probably were the Scythians from the Ukraine.

This puts
>them about 5000 miles away across some of the most difficult terrain
>on Earth.

Why is this no discouragement to proponents of a land bridge crossing,
in relation to the peopling of the Americas? With a horse you would at
least make it a little easier.

You also have 6000 yrs of cultural differences to effect.

Could you elaborate as to what these would be and how they would
relate to why contemporaneous people in Europe and Asia could domesticate
their horses, but people in the Americas could not?
> On the idea that the horse has always been in America, I
>agree that you have to find an explanation for why the Native Americans
>report no horses as present until after the arrival of the Spanish.

Perhaps a scenario similar to what is presently happening in Africa,
with huge heards of animals being pushed to the point of extinction
in only a few hundred years by the encroachment of man on their

I can imagine some Africans today being ignorant of the existence
of elephants for example.

Suddenly you have the widespread decimation of man in the Americas due
to the introduction of European viruses creating a niche into which
the remaining stocks, perhaps from Canada where the Europeans would
not have seen them in their explorations, reemerge to fill the niche.

>Also, I understand that you could /can? track the dispersion of the
>Spanish horse via indian stories of its first arrivals in each tribe.

The Comanchees claim to have stolen horses from the Apaches, whose
territory was further south. If the reporters of this tale had dared
to interview the Apaches, I am sure they would have reported stealing horses
from the Comanchees, whose territory was to the north.

The original 16 Spanish horses were Andalusian chargers, war horses
designed to carry Conquistadores in full armor. The only other type
of Spanish horse then used was the Arabian, which was used as a riding horse
for ladies, and some gentle men perhaps. The horses which the plains
indians used were much lighter.
> The fossil evidence I've heard /read about says that the
>Pleistocene American Horse was about the same as the Polish Wild
>Horse that still survives.

The Przewalski's horse has also been found wild in Siberia,
the most noticable adaptations are a white coloring and changes to the
teeth to allow foraging in conditions of snow and ice.

If you have cites on the fossil evidence you have read, I would be
interested to know the dates and distribution of surviving horses
in the Americas, in say thousand year increments, during the period of
mans presence in the Americas coterminous with the horse.

Most of our modern large horses are
>the results of (relatively) modern breeding practices and needs.

Yes, particularly as regards the medieval knight for a sturdy mount.
>(ie.. you don't need a big strong fairly fast horse to pull a plow,
>chariot, wagon, etc; but you do to carry a 180 lb man, 80 lbs of
>armour and 20-30 lbs of weapons at a galloping charge. Once you have a
>horse like that, It is great for pulling large heavy wagons if you
>don't have an armoured knight to carry around of course. You could
>pull the same wagon with several smaller horses of course, too.)

This would argue against the introduction of the Spanish Andalusian horse to
the Americas as the progenitor of the lighter mustangs.

Let me know what you think,