Are Przewalski’s horses truly a wild species?

Are Przewalski’s Horses truly a wild species, or just an escaped ancient breed?

Here a recent research that (maybe) demonstrates the second hypothesis. Like Mouflon sheep in Mediterranean region, P Horses in Central Asia seem to descend from a domesticated stock, and there are no more truly wild horses left.


The abstract:

  1. Paul Carter 1 year ago

    Hi Mattia. In case you missed it there is extensive discussion in the eLetters section of the Science article you linked to. You can find those letters after the references section. Paul

  2. Vladimir Dinets 1 year ago

    AFAIK the consensus in the field is that the authors of the paper have grossly misinterpreted their results. A formal critique was published here: , but it covers only one of the authors’ many errors.
    Fossil record of Przewalski’s horse extends well into the Pleistocene, and multiple lines of evidence show that it diverged from the lineage leading to domestic horses long before either could be domesticated.

    • Author
      Mattia from Italy 1 year ago

      Thanks Vladimir. I wrote “maybe”, but I should write a bigger MAYBE. Every published research leads to another reasearch (or more) that says the opposit. So it’s almost always impossible to know the truth.

      By the way, even I was very perplexed by these research: there are wonderful paintings of P Horses in Lascaux cave, and don’t think that 17.000 years ago Horses were domesticated… 😀

      Mouflon is instead 100% an ancient breed of sheep brought in Sardinia and Corsica by Neolithic people from Middle East.

      • Michael Harding 1 year ago

        And also to Cyprus.

  3. Vladimir Dinets 1 year ago

    Paintings in Lascaux and other European caves are generally believed to be of tarpans, the wild ancestors of domestic horses. Some paintings look more like Przewalsky’s horses, but there is no fossil record of Przewalsky’s horse in Europe, and all ancient DNA obtained to date is of tarpan.

  4. Vladimir Dinets 1 year ago

    That issue has been discussed ad nauseum in paleontological circles. The prevailing opinion now is that tarpans had an unusual amount of color diversity. It is unclear if all that variation was present in every population, or there was some geographical separation.

    • Author
      Mattia from Italy 1 year ago

      Spotted Tarpans with the same pattern of Dalmatian Dogs should have been absolutely wonderful! In this case reality exceeds imagination! 😀

  5. Paul Carter 11 months ago

    Not sure if anyone still following this thread but there is a new paper in Nature on the horse lineages by Librado et al – The origins and spread of domestic horses from the Western Eurasian steppes – The paper has Przewalski’s and the Botai horses in one cluster and modern domestic horses, their ancestors, and Tarpan in another.

  6. Vladimir Dinets 11 months ago

    One of their results is that forest tarpans belonged to a different lineage than modern domestic horses, so you can never re-create them by cross-breeding “primitive” horse breeds. Whether you can re-create steppe tarpans is a somewhat different question, but nobody has tried anyway.

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