Are Horses Native To Europe

Earl Hamilton
• Sunday, 27 September, 2020
• 25 min read

Image credit: Panel Uchorczak/Shutterstock It is commonly believed that horses are native to the European lands, when in reality, their ancestors came over from the Americas via the Bering Bridge 1 million years ago. Horses agility and intelligence contributes to their pest-like behavior of consuming crops in large amounts, which is unfavorable to farmers.

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As the only method for transportation, their purpose was also to help with carrying loads for settlements and to trade with the Indigenous peoples. The name Phipps was given to the earliest species by Thomas Henry Huxley, an English biologist and anthropologist who specialized in comparative anatomy, upon his visit to the United States in 1876.

Literally meaning “dawn horse,” Phipps was described as a “timid forest animal” standing at about 13 inches tall, with a hunched back, leopard-like spots, and four toes on each foot. Having acquired an additional tooth for grinding to feed on tough plants, it also presented itself with a sturdier body.

It not only looked like today's, with its elongated snout and long legs (albeit still with three toes), but it also demonstrated agility and intelligence through its ability to escape and out-trick other species as well as humans who made attempts a domesticating the Merrychipus. Equus managed to make its way through Alaska into Siberia via the Bering Bridge, about 1,000,000 years ago, spreading by land through Asia and Europe all the way to Africa.

Although it remains uncertain why they went extinct on these lands, evidence suggests that humans might have had something to do with it, as they first made their way to the Americas from Siberia by crossing the Bering Strait around that time. The other two theories state that infectious disease and climate change with a consecutive decline in vegetation might have also been the contributing factors.

A little-known fact is that horses, wild horses specifically, can be regarded as pests, as they are capable of consuming large amounts of land resources at a time, including feed for farmers' cattle and the products that farmers grow themselves, such as cabbage, carrots and leafy greens. Przewalski's horse had reached the brink of extinction but was reintroduced successfully into the wild.

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The Tarzan became extinct in the 19th century, though it is a possible ancestor of the domestic horse; it roamed the steppes of Eurasia at the time of domestication. However, other subspecies of Equus ferns may have existed and could have been the stock from which domesticated horses are descended.

Since the extinction of the Tarzan, attempts to have been made to reconstruct its phenotype, resulting in horse breeds such as the König and Heck horse. However, the genetic makeup and foundation bloodstock of those breeds is substantially derived from domesticated horses, so these breeds possess domesticated traits.

The term “wild horse” is also used colloquially in reference to free-roaming herds of feral horses such as the mustang in the United States, the crumby in Australia, and many others. These feral horses are untamed members of the domestic horse subspecies (Equus ferns Catullus), not to be confused with the truly “wild” horse subspecies extant into modern times.

E. Ferus has had several subspecies, only three of which have survived into modern times: The latter two are the only never-domesticated “wild” groups that survived into historic times.

In the Late Pleistocene epoch, there were several other subspecies of E.ferns which have all since gone extinct. The exact categorization of Equus' remains into species or subspecies is a complex matter and the subject of ongoing work.

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Equus ferns fossil from 9100 BC found near Dense, at the Zoological Museum in CopenhagenProbable European wild horse coat colors The horse family Equine and the genus Equus evolved in North America during the Pliocene, before the species migrated across Bering into the Eastern Hemisphere. Studies using ancient DNA, as well as DNA of recent individuals, suggest the presence of two equine species in Late Pleistocene North America, a cabal line species, suggested being nonspecific with the wild horse, and Haringtonhippus Francisco, the “New World stilt-legged horse”; the latter has been taxonomically assigned to various names, and appears to be outside the grouping containing all extant equines.

Currently, three subspecies that lived during recorded human history are recognized. One subspecies is the widespread domestic horse (Equus ferns Catullus), as well as two wild subspecies: the recently extinct Tarzan (E. f. ferns) and the endangered Przewalski's horse (E. f. przewalskii).

Genetically, the pre-domestication horse, E. f. ferns, and the domesticated horse, E. f. Catullus, form a single homogeneous group (clade) and are genetically indistinguishable from each other. The genetic variation within this clade shows only a limited regional variation, with the notable exception of Przewalski's horse.

Besides genetic differences, astrological evidence from across the Eurasian wild horse range, based on cranial and metacarpal differences, indicates the presence of only two subspecies in post glacial times, the Tarzan and Przewalski's horse. At present, the domesticated and wild horses are considered a single species, with the valid scientific name for the horse species being Equus ferns.

The wild Tarzan subspecies is E. f. ferns, Przewalski's horse is E. f. przewalskii, and the domesticated horse is E. f. Catullus. The rules for the scientific naming of animal species are determined in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, which stipulates that the oldest available valid scientific name is used to name the species.

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Previously, when taxonomists considered domesticated and wild horse two subspecies of the same species, the valid scientific name was Equus Catullus Linnaeus 1758, with the subspecies labeled E. c. Catullus (domesticated horse), E. c. ferns Border, 1785 (Tarzan) and E. c. przewalskii Polio, 1881 (Przewalski's horse). However, in 2003, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature decided that the scientific names of the wild species have priority over the scientific names of domesticated species, therefore mandating the use of Equus ferns for the horse, independent of the position of the domesticated horse.

Przewalski's horse occupied the eastern Eurasian Steppes, perhaps from the Urals to Mongolia, although the ancient border between Tarzan and Przewalski's distributions has not been clearly defined. Przewalski's horse was limited to Dzungaria and western Mongolia in the same period, and became extinct in the wild during the 1960s, but was reintroduced in the late 1980s to two preserves in Mongolia.

Although researchers such as Maria Gimbals theorized that the horses of the Paleolithic period were Przewalski's, more recent genetic studies indicate that Przewalski's horse is not an ancestor to modern domesticated horses. However, it was subsequently suggested that Przewalski's horse represent feral descendants of horses belonging to the Bowie culture.

Przewalski's horse is still found today, though it is an endangered species and for a time was considered extinct in the wild. Roughly 2000 Przewalski's horses are in zoos around the world.

A small breeding population has been reintroduced in Mongolia. As of 2005, a cooperative venture between the Zoological Society of London and Mongolian scientists has resulted in a population of 248 animals in the wild.

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However, the offspring of Przewalski and domestic horses are fertile, possessing 65 chromosomes. For instance, when the Spanish reintroduced the horse to the Americas, beginning in the late 15th century, some horses escaped, forming feral herds; the best-known being the mustang.

Similarly, the crumby descended from horses strayed or let loose in Australia by English settlers. Isolated populations of feral horses occur in a number of places, including Bosnia, Croatia, New Zealand, Portugal, Scotland and a number of barrier islands along the Atlantic coast of North America from Sable Island off Nova Scotia, to Cumberland Island, off the coast of Georgia.

In 1995, British and French explorers discovered a new population of horses in the Roche Valley of Tibet, unknown to the rest of the world, but apparently used by the local Samba people. It was speculated that the Roche horse might be a relict population of wild horses, but testing did not reveal genetic differences with domesticated horses, which is in line with news reports indicating that they are used as pack and riding animals by the local villagers.

These horses only stand 12 hands (48 inches, 122 cm) tall and are said to resemble the images known as “horse no 2” depicted in cave paintings alongside images of Przewalski's horse. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Przewalski's Horse: The History and Biology of an Endangered Species. Albany, New York Colin P. Groves: State University of New York Press.

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^ a b Laundry, Penile Johansen; Evening, Jens-Christian (2015-07-15). “A Geographic Assessment of the Global Scope for Rewinding with Wild-Living Horses (Equus ferns)”.

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^ Orlando, Ludovic; Male, Dean; Albert, Maria Teresa; Prado, Jose Luis; Print, Alfredo; Cooper, Alan; Hanna, Catherine (2008-05-01). “Ancient DNA Clarifies the Evolutionary History of American Late Pleistocene Equips”.

^ Usukhjargal, Dorm; Hen kens, Renew H. G.; Boer, Willem F. DE; Los, Angeles E. W. DE; Ra's, Erica; Dune, Caroline van (August 28, 2009). “Wolf Predation Among Reintroduced Przewalski Horses in Hastie National Park, Mongolia”.

^ Provost, Melanie; Bell one, Rebecca; Bedecked, Norbert; Sandoval-Castellanos, Edson; Paisley, Michael; Kuznets ova, Tatyana; Morales-Muñiz, Arturo; O'Connor, Terry; Weissmann, Monika; Forfeited, Michael; Ludwig, Are (15 November 2011). “Genotypes of domestic horses match phenotypes painted in Paleolithic works of cave art”.

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^ “Equus Catullus (horse)”. “Evolution, systematic, and paleogeography of Pleistocene horses in the New World: a molecular perspective”.

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Paula, G.D.; Machete, R.D.E; Scott, E.; Cahill, J.A. Stiller, M.; Woollier, M.J.; Orlando, L.; South on, J.; Free, D.G.

“The Diversity of South American Equus: Did Size Really Matter?” ^ Her Parisian, Clio; Airstrip, Julia T.; Schubert, Mikkel; Seguin-Orlando, Ancient; EME, David; Winston, Jacob; Albert, Maria Teresa; Martin, Fabian; Lopez, Patricio M.; Prado, Jose L.; Print, Alfredo; Douay, Christophe J.; Stafford, Tom W.; Wellesley, ESE; Orlando, Ludovic (March 2015).

“Mitochondrial genomes reveal the extinct as an out group to all living equips”. ^ a b c Orlando, Ludovic; Male, Dean; Albert, Maria Teresa; Prado, Jose Luis; Print, Alfredo; Cooper, Alan; Hanna, Catherine (9 April 2008).

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“Ancient DNA Clarifies the Evolutionary History of American Late Pleistocene Equips”. ^ CAI, Data; Huawei Tang; Lu Han; Camilla F. Speller; Dong ya Y. Yang; Violin Ma; Jean'en Can; Hong AHU; Hui Zhou (2009).

“Ancient DNA provides new insights into the origin of the Chinese domestic horse”. ^ a b Vila, Charles; Jennifer A. Leonard; Andes Götherström; Stefan Maryland; Key Sandberg; Keratin Laden; Robert K. Wayne; Hans Allergen (2001).

“Widespread Origins of Domestic Horse Lineages” (PDF). ^ LAU, Allison; Lei Peng; Pirogi Got; Leona Chem nick; Oliver A. Ryder; Kateryna D. Dakota (2009).

“Horse Domestication and Conservation Genetics of Przewalski's Horse Inferred from Sex Chromosomal and Autosomal Sequences”. ^ Jansen, Thomas; Forster, Peter; Levine, Marsha A.; Else, Hardy; Hurdles, Matthew; Renfrew, Colin; Weber, Jürgen; Ole, Klaus (6 August 2002).

“Quaternary Horses : possible candidates to domestication”. The Horse: its domestication, diffusion and role in past communities.

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(Source: rewildingeurope.com)

Proceedings of the XIII International Congress of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences, For, Italy, 8–14 September 1996. ^ Mills, Daniel S.; Bankers, Kathryn J.

Equine Behavior: Principles and Practice. “Usage of 17 specific names based on wild species which are predated by or contemporary with those based on domestic animals (Lepidoptera, Osteichthyes, Mammalian): conserved.

System natural per Regina trial natural :second classes, or dines, genera, species, cum characterizes, differential, synonyms, Louis. “Ecological substitutes for Wild horse and Aurochs” (PDF).

^ “The naming of wild animal species and their domestic derivatives (PDF Download Available)”. ^ Bunker, Emma C.; Watt, James C. Y.; Sun, Chitin; N.Y.), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York (2002).

Nomadic Art of the Eastern Eurasian Steppes: The Eugene V. Thaw and Other New York Collections. “Overview : Gaza : World Association of Zoos and Aquariums”.

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^ Waller, B.; Bred, G.; Müller, M.; Schumann, R. (2003). “Fixed nucleotide differences on the Y chromosome indicate clear divergence between Equus przewalskii and Equus Catullus” (PDF).

^ Lindgren, G.; Backstroke, N.; Swinburne, J.; Hellebore, L.; Einarsson, A.; Sandberg, K.; Cochran, G.; Vila, C.; Binds, M.; Allergen, H. (2004). “Limited number of patricides in horse domestication”.

^ Gaunt, Charlene; Ages, Antoine; Half, Kristian; Albrecht, Andes; Khan, Naveen; Schubert, Mikkel; Seguin-Orlando, Ancient; Owens, Ivy J.; Fell, Sabine; Bignon-Lau, Olivier; DE Barros Damaged, Peter; Hitting, Alissa; Mohave, Azazel F.; Avoid, Hossein; Quraish, Sale; Afghan, Ahmed H.; Al-Rasheid, Khaled A. S.; Crudely, Eric; Bedecked, Norbert; Olsen, Sandra; Brown, Dorcas; Anthony, David; Mass, Ken; Titular, Vladimir; Kasparov, Alaska; Bred, Gottfried; Forfeited, Michael; Mukhtarova, Elmira; Baimukhanov, Turbo; Loughs, Semi; Omar, Vedas; Stock hammer, Philipp W.; Krause, Johannes; Bold, Bazartseren; Undrakhbold, Saintlier; Erdenebaatar, Diimaajav; Lopez, Sébastien; Masseur, Marian; Ludwig, Are; Waller, Barbara; Mere, Victor; Mere, Ilia; Albert, Viktor; Wellesley, ESE; Libra do, Pablo; Outran, Alan K.; Orlando, Ludovic (6 April 2018). “Ancient genomes revisit the ancestry of domestic and Przewalski's horses ".

^ “Endangered Przewalski's Horses Back On Russian Steppe”. ^ “An extraordinary return from the brink of extinction for worlds last wild horse” Archived 2006-07-22 at the Payback Machine ZSL Living Conservation, December 19, 2005.

“Ecological and human dimensions of management of feral horses in Australia: A review” (PDF). “A Stone-Age Horse Still Roams a Tibetan Plateau”.

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In 1493, on Columbus’s second voyage to the Americas, Spanish horses, representing E. Catullus, were brought back to North America, first in the Virgin Islands and, in 1519, they were reintroduced on the continent. At the moment the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is tasked with upholding the 1971 legislation written to protect these amazing animals.

Unfortunately, their strategy are far from effective and are considered inhumane by many people. These interests range from those who want to see wild horses stay free, to those who object to the way various entities are limiting herd growth, to ranchers to graze on public lands and view the mustangs as competition.

In late July 2017, a Congressional Committed voted to reverse a ban on euthanizing healthy wild horses and donkeys. Now, if this becomes law it would give the BLM the right to kill horses that they consider adoptable that are in holding pens or still roaming public lands.

Mustangs and wild burros can be found mainly on government-designated Herd Management Areas in 10 western states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming. The BLM has reduced designated mustang habitats by more than 15 million acres since 1971.

Recently here in Arizona there have been a number of Mustangs that have been shot by random individuals. It’s amazing driving down the highway and looking out the window and seeing mustangs grazing as they have done for centuries.

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Not quite, there were similar equine species on the North American Continent before the European and Spanish horses came. However, these species went extinct along with some other ancient mammals around the time of the Ice Age.

Nowadays this breed is used a lot in the dressage and endurance trail competitions. The largest breed registry in the world is the American Quarter Horse Association (Aqua).

The Quarter horse is mostly known for western pleasure riding or events such as barrel racing, roping, and cutting. This is probably one of these most widely known breeds due to its participation in horse racing.

The thoroughbred also make great sport horses and are used as hunters and jumpers and also as mounts in dressage, polo and fox hunting. Now the Tennessee Walker was developed in the Southern United States during the 18th century for use on farms and plantations.

Because of its gait it was one of the most popular breeds during the Civil War for Generals because of its comfort over long distances. It is widely believed that Robert E. Lee’s mount, traveler, was part Tennessee Walker.

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Anyway, the paint typically is a combination of the conformation characteristics of the western stock horse and the colors of a pinto. The American Paint Horse Association (Alpha) does consider them a true breed and states that they have strict bloodline requirements and distinctive characteristics of the breed.

The Appaloosa or Apply as many people call it, was originally developed by the New Peace Native American tribe in the Pacific Northwest. Apply’s are considered tough, independent, hardy and very sure-footed.

They are characterized by open stud book policies and are known for being great sport horses. If you found it helpful please share it on your favorite social media channel, I would really appreciate it.

European grasslands have belonged to wild horses for thousands of years. With the arrival of hunters and later on farmers, wild horses were pushed from most parts of Europe.

This is surprising, since for years the König from Poland has been advertised as the resurrected Tarzan,“ said Henri Kerkdijk-Otten of Taurus Foundation (Sighting Taurus) a Dutch organization that uses feral cattle and horses in nature management and natural grazing schemes, and also organizer of an international scientific ancient horse project. “According to the latest researches, it is the Ex moor pony from a remote part of Great Britain that is the closest relative we have of the prehistoric horse.

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We have also noticed from experience that Ex moor ponies express more wild features than Monks, like a natural tendency to get out of the way when people approach. What also has become evident is that there was, and still is, regional variety within the total European wild horse population.

Some primitive horse breeds are better adapted to mountainous areas and some to flat savanna-like landscapes. Complete bodies of ponies from 12.000 to 10.000 BC have been found in the frozen tundra of Siberia, and they had long manes, not erect.

Most prehistoric horses with erect manes that we see on cave paintings were part of a tundra-steppe climate and vegetation. The latest genetic research shows that the original colors of prehistoric horses were bay and black.

The black color can still be seen in authentic and feral horse breeds like the Asturian (North of Spain), the original Potomac (Basque Country) and the Means (South of France) and Fell pony (North England). This gene is still present in the Przewalski horse and in the Ex moor pony and also partly in other breeds.

Because every country and every region prefer its local primitive breed of horse with which they have shared an emotional bond for centuries. “I hope it will be Ex moor pony, which Sighting Taurus focuses on, because it is a magnificent animal,“ said Caliber Postal.

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Some of the world’s oldest and purest horse breeds were initially developed in Europe. Some of the tallest and smallest breeds were developed on the continent, often to meet a specific need or climate issue.

Horses from Northern Europe ten to be adapted to climates that are damp, wet, and somewhat cold. Southern European horses tend to be more athletic and lean, ready to tackle the year-round chores that a more temperate climate allows.

Some superstitions believe that the placement of coat whirls or colors is an indication of what the owner’s luck will be or what the temperament of the horse will be. There are several subtypes within this breed that are accepted, ranging from the Cor lay to the Heavy Draft, and is based on the size of the horse.

The Breton is also one of the few draft horses that were not improved through crossbreeding in the early 1900s, making it one of the purest breeds of its type today. Smaller Breton's are used under saddle and complete light draft work or compete in events.

Originating in Scotland, its fame is largely due to the Budweiser brand including a herd of this draft horse as part of their marketing efforts. This is because breed associations have long paid close attention to the quality of the legs, hooves, and the general movement of the horse.

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The feathering below the knee is one of the trademarks of this breed, which can require extensive care because of the amount of moisture they can trap. Fewer than 5,000 Clydesdale's are believed to exist globally, with 80% of them living in North America.

Originating in the Netherlands, this breed is one of the most nimble and graceful horses in the equine world today. Their long-flowing mane and tail create optics that make it virtually impossible not to love horses.

Developed in Italy and Austria during the latter half of the 19th century, this breed is relatively small and always chestnut. All purebred Harbingers can trace their ancestry back to the original foundation sire through 1 of 7 established bloodlines.

It is a very athletic horse, comparable to many Thoroughbreds, but it also has a superior level of agility that allows it to perform in many sporting events. You’ll often find Hanoverian's competing in English riding styles that are competitive, dressage, and sport jumping in addition to traditional racing events.

It was originally a carriage horse and was often used for farm work, but was adapted to sporting needs after a shift in demand occurred after the second world war. Developed exclusively in Iceland, this is one of the most protected horse breeds in the world today.

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Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported into the country to preserve the bloodlines of the native horses. Originally developed because of Norse settlers who migrated to Iceland as early as the 9th century, the breed has been mentioned in local literature for almost 1,000 years.

It is a breed that has a large personality, a spirited temperament, and an incredible ability to carry weight. This horse breed is closely associated with a specific riding school in Austria.

This horse breed is highly intelligent, so it can learn intricate movements and stylized jumps with relative ease. There are just 8 stallions that are recognized as the foundation bloodstock of the modern breed and all of them were foaled in the late 18th or early 19th century.

Developed in Lower Saxony, this breed is a tall sport horse that has a world-renown jumping ability. There are liberal pedigree requirements for the breed, including exclusive use of privately owned stallions instead of a restricted studbook from a state-owned farm.

Their return is key part of a program which aims to restore natural pastures, flowering meadows and other elements of biodiversity. But their genes have survived in some primitive breeds of horses,” says Caliber Postal, director of European Wildlife conservation organization.

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The long-term aim is to create horses which will resemble herds that used to inhabit Europe and that are fit for purpose However, new scientific findings, including DNA analyses, shows that, in many ways, König does not resemble original wild horses.

“From genetic researches, we have learned that the Ex moor pony is the closest relative we have of the Northwest European prehistoric horse. Another important thing to add is that contrary to the Aurochs, wild horses in Europe seem to have been more diverse in terms of appearance.

The domesticated horse most definitely can be linked first to Europe, North Africa, Asia, China and Mongolia BEFORE the USA. Horses were originally native to America 55 million years ago.

Their first ancestors existed during the Late Eocene period, and were small (about 10" tall at the shoulder), dog -like creatures that scavenged for fruits in the forests. Then, around the time of the ice age, most migrated over to Eurasia via a land bridge and went extinct on the Americas due to reasons that remain undetermined (possibly climatic factors, and the fact that the Americas were become arid grasslands instead of lush forests).

Then, during the colonization of North America, the Spaniards brought domesticated horses over from Europe, and some of them (mustangs, etc.) It is true that after over 25 million years ago, wild horses no longer lived in America.

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And yes, they were then native to Eurasia, and were domesticated and brought back over to the Americas by the Spaniards. The horse, from its earliest form, is native to the North American continent.

The Bison which originated in Asia migrated across the same land bridge into North American. All fossil records show the horse began in North America.

The Spanish brought them over on one of their quests across the world and the horses ran free. The romance and excitement of this colorful culture has captured the imagination of the Western World and it has become a favorite subject for books, paintings and movies.

The Indian acquisition of the horse reminds me of the somewhat analogous technological revolution in our society caused by the invention and ubiquitous spread of motor vehicles. Given our rapid exhaustion of oil and gas reserves and our pollution of the environment, one wonders if the glory days of the motor vehicle will last much longer than that of the mounted Indian.

It is a strange quirk of fate that equines originated in North America, but became extinct here though they continued to thrive in Asia after crossing the Bering Straits. It is interesting to speculate as to how different history would have been if the horse had stayed in North America and the enormous advantage to civilization had developed first on this side of the ocean.

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In his wonderful book, American Colonies, Taylor says that this revolt was the greatest setback inflicted by natives on European expansion in North America. Certainly resourceful hunters managed to kill buffalo with techniques like approaching using wolf hides as cover or driving herds over a precipice, but this did not provide great abundance with any continuity.

Around tribal centers game tended to become less plentiful and sought refuge in the no man’s land between rivals which caused frequent clashes between hunting parties. With the decimation of the buffalo herds, military defeat and white settlement, the picturesque culture of these proud, nomadic hunter/warriors was shattered and is only a memory today.

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