Horses Tamed Earlier Than We Thought

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2009 6:13 PM CST
A mare being milked in Northern Kazakhstan. The domesticated horse is now thought to have originated in that region.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Horses were domesticated 1,000 years earlier than thought, a finding that could prompt a rethinking of ancient human history, the BBC reports. A team from Exeter University found evidence of the use of harness bits on teeth—as well as horse meat and horse milk beverages—in Kazakhstan that date back 5,500 years. Historians have previously figured that humans tamed horses during the Bronze Age.

The findings have an impact on our understanding of the past. “The domestication of the horse does have implications for human culture globally,” the lead researcher said, citing the animal’s use in warfare, trade, and communication. “If we are moving the origins of horse domestication much further back, we are going to have to think about the impact on the development of human culture at the time."